There is never a boring day in the world of cryptocurrency. The CEO of Bitcoin Inc mentioned on Twitter that he had been arrested in his home by the Department of Homeland Security. According to the information shared with us, this arrest is the direct result of a Bitcoin transaction dating back to November of 2016. For now, he has been released on a personal recognizance bond.
The Story of The Bitcoin Inc CEO
There is a lot of interesting information to be found in this particular story. It all began when the CEO of Bitcoin Inc – not to be confused with the CEO of Bitcoin the currency, as such a position doesn’t exist – got arrested over a Bitcoin transaction dating back to November 2016. It seems the Department of Homeland Security is concerned about this specific transaction for unknown reasons.
Furthermore, the CEO has been charged with involvement in a money laundering instrument. Assuming he did not adhere to specific regulations or requirements, such a charge may stick in the long run. His LocalBitcoins transaction was well below the threshold at which users need to file for an official Money Service Transmitter license. As such, charging him with money laundering seems like a bit of a stretch, but it is possible there’s a lot more to this story than meets the eye.
On Friday Feb 9, I was arrested in my home by Department Of Homeland Security over a #Bitcoin transaction from nov 2016 and am released under a personal recognizance bond. I am being charged with:
18 USC 1956 – Money Laundering Instrumenthttps://t.co/4w7NJIi4jw
Asset Forfeit pic.twitter.com/5kINtbxH17
— Morgan (@NODEfather) February 14, 2018
Additionally, it seems the individual’s phone is still in the hands of the DHS as of right now. While that is not a big problem per se, the Bitcoin Inc CEO will need that device to access 2FA codes for cryptocurrency-related services. Holding on to such a personal item – especially an electronic device – raises a lot of questions, especially where this arrest is concerned. It is unclear why the DHS decided to arrest him specifically, and it almost appears as if someone reported this person for Bitcoin activity.
Even though selling Bitcoin on LocalBitcoins is not illegal in the US, it does lead to some scrutiny by the government. The United States is seemingly turning against cryptocurrency users right now, even though this may very well have been an isolated incident. Regardless of the reason behind this arrest, it is evident that it has created a rather worrisome precedent for the rest of the Bitcoin community in the US.
Moreover, sharing all of these details regarding an ongoing investigation on social media may not necessarily have been the CEO’s best idea. After all, if the government finds out this information has been shared without official permission, there will be severe repercussions. Moreover, any comments issued on social media will only hurt his cause in the long run.
For the time being, we will have to wait and see how this story plays out. There are still a lot of details we don’t have as of right now, and there is probably more to this story than is being shared on social media. The document on Twitter indicates he was detained for three days, and he apparently spent another two in a holding facility. It’s a very worrisome development if this is to become the new norm for dealing with Bitcoin users in the United States.