Snowden Supporter Gets Wish Fulfilled and Arrested

Back in 2015, an Oregon man goaded the Federal Government to come and arrest him over a donation made to Edward Snowden’s Legal Defense Fund. Almost three years later, Kristopher Ives has finally got his wish.

People in Glass Houses…

Ives grabbed the attention of the media back in April 2015. He had taken to Reddit to protest Obama’s legislation targeting those supporting overseas cybercriminals. Edward Snowden, the infamous whistle-blower and general “thorn in the side” of the US authorities, had been accepting Bitcoin as part of his Legal Defense Fund. Ives, an anarchist, Bitcoin proponent, and self-proclaimed computer nerd, felt that this was a direct attack on Snowden’s fund.

To protest this, he sent Snowden 33 cents worth of Bitcoin before demanding that he be arrested for it. His post read:

“It’s not much but it’s the principle of the matter. Please come arrest me. I live in Oregon and my name is Kristopher Ives and you can reach me at 503-383-1047. This isn’t a release of personal information as these are my business credentials publicly listed on my Github page, which I consistently link to projects I work on. I ask moderators don’t remove my information.”

He also listed the proof of his 33 cent transaction taken from a popular Bitcoin blockchain explorer. In addition, Ives Tweeted directly to the then-President Obama to protest what he felt was an unconstitutional act by the premier:

Despite several people following Ives’ lead in donating funds to Snowden and news sources picking up on the story, the Feds did not act on his goading.

However, seemingly emboldened by his flouting of the law, it has later emerged that the very next month after the Reddit incident, he attempted to blackmail an undisclosed victim of a hack attack. The Daily Beast reports that Ives threatened to “impair the confidentiality of information” obtained in the hack, demanding money “and other things of value” for said data to be kept secret.

In addition to the charges of blackmail, Ives’ has also been indicted for seventeen counts of credit card fraud. It’s thought that these were used to commit criminal acts some twelve months after the blackmail and Reddit event. More detailed information about the charges are not yet known and the prosecutor in the case was not available for comment. We do know that Ives’ five-day trial is scheduled for May 1st, however.

Of course, the current indictment has nothing at all to do with his earlier pleas for his own arrest. It does, however, feel somewhat amusing that Ives has finally been indicted. Thankfully, it is for crimes that sought his own personal enrichment, rather than his altruistic act of self-martyrdom for the cause of Snowden, a genuine freedom fighter.


Image: Flickr


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The potential applications for blockchain technology are seemingly endless. Every day a new startup applies distributed ledger technology and smart contracts that underlie cryptocurrencies to a different world scenario offering new and innovative ways to streamline existing systems. Islamic charitable endowments, called waqf, are the latest to get the blockchain treatment.

According to reports Singapore based fintech firm Finterra has developed a crowdfunding platform that uses blockchain to create smart contracts that would be linked to specific waqf projects. A waqf typically involves donating a building, plot of land, or other assets for Muslim religious or charitable purposes with no intention of reclaiming the assets. The concept dates back over a thousand years peaking during the Ottoman Empire.

Islamic financial markets

The company hopes to provide a more efficient way of raising funds and managing the transfer of waqf which receive donations from Muslims for social projects such as schools, mosques, and charitable organizations. CEO Hamid Rashid told media;

“We are trying to change the financial terrain in its approach to crowdfunding and development of waqf,”

The company is hoping to target core Islamic financial markets in the Middle East and Southeast Asia where pilot projects are already being studied in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. They hope to be up and running by June and will host a forum in Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur in March. Waqf bodies in Brunei and India have already shown interest in the project.

Underused assets

Large portfolios of real estate, commercial businesses and other assets can be held in Islamic endowments. It has been estimated that as much as $1 trillion of assets is held in waqf globally.

Due to ineffective management, with some waqf requiring further donations to keep running, many assets are underutilized for the purpose for which they were donated. Blockchain could address this by tracking each contract electronically across the lifespan of the investment, increasing the efficiency of the potential of the asset.

The redevelopment of a school in Jakarta into a commercially viable property is one waqf project currently being studied according to Rashid. He hopes this will be the first of many to benefit from the blockchain revolution.

Political candidates should really start paying more attention to crypto-markets, as it could be a new frontier for increased campaign contributions.

Last year, Missouri Republican Austin Petersen’s campaign for Senate received 24 separate Bitcoin donations, according to a campaign issued statement released mid-January — and one of them was the largest single Bitcoin donation in federal election history. The donation — 0.284 of a Bitcoin — was instantly converted to dollars by a Bitcoin processor when it was received on December 20th, 2017. Because of bitcoin’s market value at that time, it was worth $4,500.

“I think it goes without saying we’re going to see a lot more of this in terms of campaign contributions and campaign financing,” Jeff Carson, the campaign manager for Petersen’s Senate bid told ABC News. Accepting cryptocurrencies as campaign contributions, Carson added, lines up with Petersen’s political philosophy: “Austin is personally a fan of competition in the marketplace, even when it comes to our currency,” he said. “With the rise of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, it was a no-brainer for us to use those.”

This isn’t the first campaign in which people have supported candidates using cryptocurrency. Rand Paul accepted Bitcoin campaign contributions during his 2016 presidential bid. Before that, in 2014, Jared Polis accepted Bitcoin donations in his congressional campaign — the same year the Federal Election Commission announced that it would allow individuals to contribute to political campaigns using the digital currency.

Now, four years down the line, Bitcoin as campaign currency has become less of a novelty, with campaigns from both Republicans and Democrats accepting the coin. Experts say the increase in Bitcoin campaign contributions is a natural progression that follows the ever-growing popularity of cryptocurrencies.

Shone Anstey, the executive chairman of Blockchain Intelligence Group, a risk analytics company for Bitcoin encrypted currencies, told ABC News it was “inevitable.” “It certainly has taken off aggressively with the dramatic rise in price [of Bitcoin],” he said. “It’s also taken off aggressively with millennials, who are glued to their phones and have taken to cryptocurrencies very naturally.” And there is another crop of campaign donors who are likely to use Bitcoin: the newly rich. “There are a number of people who have become very crypto-rich,” Anstey said, calling them “a whole new class of investors who have made a lot of money.”

In 2014, the FEC determined it was acceptable for campaigns to accept Bitcoin in a case involving the Make Your Laws PAC, a non-affiliated political action committee, as long as the donations were limited to the equivalent of $100 per individual and steps were taken to disclose the contact information of the donors.

Most people in Bitcoin are familiar with Andreas Antonopoulos. He is a great speaker at events, successful author, and doesn’t get involved in Bitcoin politics. However, one thing most people don’t know is how he isn’t a Bitcoin millionaire. That is slowly starting to change, thanks to a new donation campaign by the Bitcoin community.

A lot of people are surprised Andreas Antonopoulos hasn’t made millions off Bitcoin. Most people who got involved during the early days – and are still around – make a good amount of money. At the same time, some of us have to work for our money – paid in Bitcoin – and use that money to cover bills and expenses. In the case of Andreas, that is exactly what happened over the years. Bills need to get paid and Bitcoin has been valued pretty low for most of the past nine years.

Andreas Antonopoulos Receives Overwhelming Support

Roger Ver recently “called out” Andreas Antonopoulos over this development. As is usually the case, such debates spark an immediate reaction among the Bitcoin community. Because of this development, some people started donating healthy amounts of BTC to Andreas. That is only normal, as the Bitcoin community is often very helpful in these regards. The global availability of Bitcoin makes it easier to send money around the world as well.

Big was everyone’s surprise when someone donated 37.046 Bitcoin to Andreas Antonopoulos. This is just one donation and not the culmination of many different transactions. At the time of writing, this donation is valued at over $553,000. That is quite a steep donation, although it is a well-deserved one as well. It is important to note Andreas may not keep this money all to himself either. It is possible he may donate some of the funds to a charitable goal, although nothing has been officially confirmed at this point. His intent was never to get rich off Bitcoin in the first place.

All of this goes to show people genuinely appreciate Andreas Antonopoulos. It is commendable to see people show their support for his services throughout the year. Even though he never asked for any donations, people take it upon themselves to make good things happen. This is the power of Bitcoin as most of us have envisioned it for some years now. After all, it is important to keep track of what Bitcoin was designed to be in the first place.

For the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission, Bitcoin’s pseudonymity makes it unsuitable for campaign fundraising in local elections. They announced their decision on Wednesday in response to a request from a candidate querying the legality of accepting contributions using Bitcoin. Executive Director of the commission, Mark Skoglund said:

Bitcoin is a digital currency… There is no physical manifestation of this currency in any way. It’s just alphanumeric characters that exist only online. It is not backed by any government. The value is subjective and highly volatile. However, there are millions of people who utilize bitcoin.

The major issue with the cryptocurrency for Skogland and colleagues is its semi-anonymity. According to them, by allowing donations in Bitcoin, they are potentially inviting unidentifiable lobbyists to exert influence on government. Until standardised reporting procedures are put in place, this will remain the case, Commissioner Jerome Hellmer opined:

The greatest problem would be the strong probability of the influencing of local elections by totally unidentifiable lobbyists trying to come in. If you think the Russians affected the presidential elections, just wait. This is what’s going to happen.

The decision from Kansas is contrary to the Federal Election Commission’s opinion who do indeed allow contributions to be made in state and local elections. Back in 2014, they issued a statement declaring donations via Bitcoin to be legal, under certain conditions. In the commission’s own words:

The Federal Election Commission opined today that bitcoins will be regulated like in-kind contributions. So the commission effectively took the same position that the IRS has taken, that bitcoins are in kind property; they are not U.S. currency.

Earlier this year, Libertarian senate candidate Austin Peterson announced that he’d accept the revolutionary digital currency for his campaign and back in 2015 Presidential candidate Rand Paul became the highest profile politician to embrace crypto. Thanks to yesterday’s ruling, however, Peterson and Paul’s Kansas counterparts will not enjoy the same freedom during local campaigns.

Image: ShutterStock

Austin Peterson, U.S. Senate candidate for Missouri, has announced that he will be giving his supporters the option to donate to his campaign using Bitcoin. Branding himself as the “opt out” candidate, he believes that voluntary participation should underpin any government service. This extends to Social Security, Obamacare, and also to fiat currency apparently.

Being a former Libertarian presidential candidate, Peterson aims to highlight his stance on big government and oppressive regulation by accepting the world’s most popular cryptocurrency. “You get a choice,” he was reported as saying. “Opt out of the U.S. dollar.”

“Bitcoin is one of those issues that has actually got a huge community. I mean there are bitcoin millionaires out there. And we might be able to tap into that market because there will probably be no other candidates who will be better on that issue. I really would like to see a degregulation on monetary policy.”

As one of his ultimate ideological goals, the Missouri candidate seeks for the “complete and total abolition” of the Federal Reserve – a sentiment which echoes many of the earliest adopters of cryptocurrency’s political principles. Peterson firmly believes that money should not be a creation of the government but rather one of the marketplace. He argues that if decentralization is good for markets, why can this principle not extend to money too?

At a minimum I would like to introduce legalisation that would decentralise the monetary unit, the dollar, in such a way as to legalise competition: Gold, silver and cryptocurrencies, so that they can compete. That would cause a spike in the prices.”

The controversial politician has made a name for himself by taking his political message to the extreme. A recent publicity stunt saw him facing a thirty-day ban from Facebook for live streaming a competition in which the prize was an AR-15 rifle. He claimed that it was a political action that sought to draw attention to Democratic Senator Clair McCaskill’s support for a ban on all assault weapons.

The self-proclaimed “Bitcoin candidate” isn’t the first high-profile politician to accept cryptocurrency donations. Famously, Republican Senator Rand Paul in his 2016 presidential campaign also allowed funding using the payment method. It was of course much less widely known and enjoyed significantly lower circulation than it does today.

This is reflected by the different limits imposed on cryptocurrency donations from each of the two politicians. Peterson has enabled his campaign to receive up to $10,000 per day from multiple donors, whilst the Federal Election Commission limits individual contributors to $2,700 and multi-candidate PACs to $5,000. This contrasts with the campaign of Paul who capped contributions to just $100.

Another interesting difference between the two campaigns relates to anonymity and transparency. Back in 2015/16, it was largely considered by the media that anarcho-types would seek to hide their support of various anti-system candidates using cryptocurrency. However, many today tout the payment method as being the ultimate in transparent funding. Every Bitcoin can, of course, be traced back to the original genesis block, highlighted by the federal agents who were able to build evidence against Ross Ulbricht, the mastermind behind the original darkweb marketplace — SilkRoad. FBI agent Ilhwan Yum said, “I didn’t do any complicated analysis” when following DreadPirateRoberts’s crypto-paper trail which eventually led to his arrest.

Bitcoin acceptance in political rallies and election campaigns show that the politicians are increasingly becoming open to the use of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, which could bear a positive effect over the government policies and regulations once they get into power.

Japan is slowly starting to warm up to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Some people claim the recent Bitcoin price increase is a direct result of this development. It is certainly true locals have taken notice of what cryptocurrency has to offer. The castle city of Hirosaki is now betting on Bitcoin to attract more tourists. An interesting turn of events,  to say the least.

The city of Hirosaki is embarking on a very bold plan that involves the Bitcoin cryptocurrency. This cryptocurrency will be used to attract international travelers moving forward. Additionally, Bitcoin will also be used to preserve local historic attractions. Relying on blockchain-based donations is a big step forward for Japan, that much is evident.

Hirosaki Sees Bitcoin As An Ally For Tourism

There are 2,600 cherry blossom trees in the city of Hirosaki that need to be preserved. Moreover, the stone wall of Hirosaki Castle is in need of preservation efforts as well. The city now looks toward bitcoin donations to help make this dream into a reality. Everyone who visits the city can contribute, although international financial support is more than welcome as well.

One thing Bitcoin can do well is form a bond between the contributor and the cause they are supporting. In this case, Hirosaki hopes to attract more tourists. Giving people a chance to donate and see how their money is being used is quite interesting. Anyone in the world can visit the city and see why the money is needed in the first place. Cross-border transfers through banks are both costly and time-consuming, which often leads to fewer donations overall.

It is worth noting Hirosaki is not in dire need of cash. The project should be seen as an experiment to promote tourism to the region. Should this venture prove to be successful, it will greatly benefit the Japanese city. Reparation of the castle wall has already begun several years ago. However, preserving the cherry blossom trees is an ongoing struggle. Hirosaki has been accepting Bitcoin donations since April 20th thanks to a partnership with the Japanese Coincheck exchange.. So far, just over one Bitcoin has been received in donations.

The correlation between bitcoin and video games has been apparent for some time now. Various companies selling CD keys accept bitcoin payments as of right now. The team behind CRYENGINE, an open-source video game development engine, now accepts bitcoin donations. Another notch in the belt for the popular cryptocurrency, that much is certain.

People who follow the video game industry will have come across the CRYENGINE name before. This particular video game engine is used in the popular FarCry games. Crytek, the company responsible for developing the engine, made their product open source some time ago. Such a powerful technology needed to be made accessible to both large and indie game developers alike. A few years ago, licensing CRYENGINE was rather problematic, which is why Crytek decided to switch things up a bit.

CRYENGINE and Bitcoin Make An Intriguing Pair

Even though anyone can use the engine free of charge, its development and maintenance are still ongoing. Software engineers continue to work on CRYENGINE as we speak, although they are not necessarily getting paid the big bucks for doing so. Instead, they rely on contributions and donations from the gaming community  By offering a royalty-free game development platform to anyone, any donation goes a long way.

It is not entirely surprising to find out bitcoin donations are now accepted. Crytek has been keeping an eye on bitcoin for some time now, by the look of things. Using bitcoin to actively contribute to the development of CRYENGINE is a significant step in the right direction. Crytek mentions how they now accept “the leading cryptocurrency” as part of their “Pay What You Want” business model.

Moreover, the plan is to integrate bitcoin payments across the CRYENGINE platform. This means bitcoin payments will be coming to the built-in marketplace very soon. This is another validation of bitcoin as a popular payment method, both within and outside of the gaming industry. It is the only global currency that can be sued with very little friction. That is, assuming transaction fees don’t go up any more than they have to.

Header image courtesy of Shutterstock

The decentralized nature of Bitcoin makes it independent of conventional banking and payment systems. The very reason led to WikiLeaks adopting cryptocurrency payments as the main donation option on its website. The whistleblower site created by Julian Assange has the habit of constantly finding itself in the bad books of the governments, which in turn has impacted its access to banking services.

A few years ago, PayPal and Valitor, a credit card payment service provider, briefly stopped offering their services to Wikileaks; it also froze the platform’s accounts on one occasion. Since 15 June 2011, the website has been accepting donations in Bitcoin along with other payment options linked to partner non-profits. Yesterday, WikiLeaks’ Bitcoin wallet account surpassed a milestone by successfully collecting 4000 bitcoins, which at press time amounts to around $2.9 million.


The WikiLeaks donation wallet address shows a total of 25480 transactions, averaging at around $114 per transaction. Apart from Bitcoin, WikiLeaks also accepts donations through credit cards, PayPal, Litecoin, Google Checkout, Cheques and Bank transfer. All donations received by WikiLeaks is being used to fund the technical infrastructure required to keep the platform online. In addition to the server and other costs, the funds are also used to pay salaries to some of the WikiLeaks personnel, including Julian Assange.


Apart from four or five people, most of the WikiLeaks staff, legal representative work pro bono. On many occasions, WikiLeaks has been instrumental in making public a trove of classified and leaked documents showcasing the role of government organizations, military, politicians and even corporates in few cases.

WikiLeaks has been valiantly serving as the mouthpiece of democracy and freedom of press, while divulging crucial evidence pointing out governments’ autocracies and questionable activities which may have a far-reaching impact on diplomacy, political and military relations. As WikiLeaks continues to unravel the dirty secrets, the platform’s owners continue to become targets. Julian Assange is one such personality who is currently evading arrest for an alleged crime by taking refuge at an Ecuadorian embassy in the UK.

As long as Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are around, platforms like WikiLeaks will continue to enjoy some form of immunity against the heavy handedness of government institutions and agencies.

Ref: Blockchain. info | Image: ActivistPost

Bitcoin Unlimited recently made news after it received an unusually large donation of around $500,000 in bitcoins. The donation amount is now mired in controversy after it was claimed to have come from a questionable source.

According to few reports, the donation received by the project were allegedly stolen from Kraken, a leading digital currency exchange. There were unconfirmed reports of Kraken suffering from a security breach that resulted in a theft. While the exact amount of Bitcoin stolen during the incident is not clear, few users tracking the stolen funds on the Bitcoin blockchain believe that it is the same stolen stash which has made its way to Bitcoin Unlimited’s wallets.

A portion of Bitcoin that was donated to Bitcoin Unlimited seems to have followed the same path through coin mixing services as rest of the stolen funds. A Bitcoin taint analysis conducted by one of the Redditor shows the whole transaction tree. The OP, without making any conclusions has put it out there for the community to come to their own conclusion.

bitcoin unlimited


Grey: Kraken address from which the bitcoins were stolen from

Orange: Address to which stolen bitcoins were allegedly sent to

Green: Address containing most of the stolen bitcoins

Blue: Addresses to which the bitcoins were sent for mixing

Yellow: Bitcoin Unlimited’s donation address

The influx of new funds into Bitcoin Unlimited seems to have already been put to good use. The platform has announced the availability of new research funding for new Bitcoin projects. According to the latest blog post by Peter Rizun, the major areas of interest for Bitcoin Unlimited includes

  1. Research into longer-term scaling initiatives
  2. Development of incremental scaling improvements
  3. Empirical studies into challenges revolving around scaling
  4. Quality control, including improvement of the documentation process, website improvement and automation of regression testing of releases
  5. Outreach

The funding will be subject to the approval of the BUIP.

Bitcoin Unlimited has been slowly gaining adoption as well, thanks to Bitcoin Core’s snail-paced approach towards scalability of the protocol. Recently, Mining Pool started running Bitcoin Unlimited on its mainnet. We may see more mining pools extending their support in the near future.

Ref: Peter Rizun on Medium | Reddit |Image: