Today on Bitcoin This Week we discuss the alleged usage of Bitcoin during the 2016 US Presidential Campaign by Russian spies to disrupt Clinton’s campaign, OKCoin crypto exchange opens operations in the US and more.
Russian Spies Used Bitcoin To Scupper Clinton
The cryptocurrency world was rocked this week by news that Russian hackers allegedly used Bitcoin as part of a state-sponsored campaign to disrupt the 2016 US Presidential Election. The revelation was contained in a 29-page indictment issued by the US Department of Justice on Friday the 13th, in which it set out in detail, the case against 12 Russian operatives.
It is alleged that the operatives used Bitcoin to pay for the computing equipment used in the hacking attacks, as well as the VPN they employed to disguise their location when posting leaked emails on Twitter and other platforms. Bitcoin was also used to purchase the servers to launch malware and phishing attacks, which, it was alleged, resulted in the operatives gaining access to the email accounts of leading Democrats, including presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. The indictment also details the laundering of over $95,000 using cryptocurrencies and even suggests that the hackers mined Bitcoin to fund their activities.
Where Next For Bitcoin?
It’s already been a difficult year for Bitcoin, which has seen its value fall 400% since January. Following this latest revelation, regulators in the US will come under increasing pressure to clamp down on cryptocurrencies, with members of Congress already taking to Twitter to call for tougher laws to tackle digital currencies. However, the crypto community has been equally dismayed to find that the alleged actions of the Russian operatives were so easily discovered, putting to bed any notion that transactions made with Bitcoin are private. If Russian state-backed operatives, with years of espionage training and huge financing at their disposal, are unable to hide their Bitcoin transactions, what hope is there for everyone else?
The real concern, however, voiced by the cryptocurrency community as the dust settles on this latest scandal, is that Bitcoin will be made the scapegoat and, with tighter regulation likely to follow, what will happen to the value of the coin in the weeks and months to come?
OKCoin Enters United States Exchange Market
Well, the unfolding drama in Washington didn’t prevent another Chinese exchange launching a US-based operation this week. Following on the heels of Huobi, which launched its crypto-to-crypto trading platform through a US partner last week, OKCoin announced that it has obtained a license to trade in California and will offer a fiat-crypto platform.
Making the announcement on its website last Friday with the words “Hello USA”, the exchange promised that other states would “follow soon”. OKCoin was, along with Huobi, among the largest platforms operating in China before the Chinese government implemented its ban on crypto exchanges last year. Both have moved into international territories, with Huobi expanding quickly this year, firstly throughout Asia, then the US and it is expected to open a London branch in the coming months.
China Putting Its History On The Blockchain
China may not be as friendly to cryptocurrencies as it once was, but it has been very active in promoting blockchain technology in recent months, with the Chinese government recently announcing that blockchain would play a central role in the future development of the world’s second-largest economy. But what part can blockchain possibly have in preserving the world’s cultural heritage?
Academics from the Tsinghua University have filed a patent detailing their plans to use advanced 3d digital imaging to preserve cultural works on the blockchain. They also plan to link museums and other cultural entities on the blockchain to create a shared ledger of cultural artifacts that can be added to by each participant. Coindesk reported last week that the Tencent Blockchain platform, which is currently in development, will be used for the project.
Bitcoin Has A Good Week
Friday the 13th was unlucky for Bitcoin (BTC), as we’ve already heard, but the expected market meltdown didn’t materialize. Indeed, there was a modest improvement over the weekend. Trading opened on Thursday at $6396, after a difficult start of the week for the leading cryptocurrency. Failing to climb above the $6400 mark on Thursday, it opened Friday at $6235 and hovered dangerously close to $6190 before climbing back up to finish the day much as it started. Despite a stuttering Saturday, during which the coin failed to make $6300 all day, Sunday witnessed a steady climb back to $6400, seeming to suggest that the market had taken Friday’s bombshell in its stride. To see current prices click here.