Russian intelligence officers accused of meddling in the 2016 presidential elections in the US have used bitcoin to finance their campaign, cover the tracks and obscure their identities, a new federal indictment suggests. You can check the details in today’s edition of Bitcoin in Brief. Also in the daily, billionaire Steven Cohen invests in crypto hedge fund, mysterious expert bets that 1 BTC will cost more than the Berkshire Hathaway’s share in five years, and a leading horse-betting platform now accepts BTC and BCH.
Russian Agents Used Bitcoin, Mined Cryptocurrency
This Friday, a federal indictment announced by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein turned another page in the story of the alleged Russian meddling in the last US presidential election, and it features cryptocurrency. According to the document, which was released just before a major summit between Trump and Putin in Helsinki next week, Russian agents used cryptos like bitcoin in their campaign to influence the outcome of the 2016 vote.
Authorities in Washington claim that hackers working for the Russian foreign military intelligence paid in crypto for servers in the US and Malaysia, website domains, and virtual private networks (VPNs) used to release information stolen from the Democratic camp and to obscure their identities and cover their tracks. They also laundered more than $95,000 through bitcoin.
The 12 GRU officers indicted by the United States special counsel Robert Mueller are said to have acquired bitcoin (BTC) in different ways, including through peer-to-peer crypto trading platforms, using other digital coins and prepaid credit cards as well. US investigators claim the Russians even mined their own cryptocurrency.
The indictment, the first to level criminal charges against Russian officials pertaining to the alleged election interference, suggests that crypto funds were used to lease servers in two US states, Illinois and Arizona, where the hacked information was stored, and pay a Romanian company through a US-based processor to set up a website used to spread it.
Billionaire Steven Cohen Invests in Crypto Hedge Fund
Billionaire Steven Cohen has reportedly invested in the crypto hedge fund Autonomous Partners. The investment was made through his Cohen Private Ventures, Bloomberg reported, quoting an unnamed source. The fund, founded last year, is focusing on cryptocurrencies and blockchain-based companies. It has already attracted investments from Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong and Craft Ventures cofounder David Sacks.
Autonomous Partners invests in major cryptocurrencies like bitcoin (BTC) and ethereum (ETH) but has stayed away from ripple (XRP) over concerns that the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) may decide that the token is a security. Crypto advocate Arianna Simpson, founder of the hedge fund, commented that she is interested in investing in cryptocurrencies that serve as general purpose money and companies that are building the next generation of financial infrastructure.
The number of crypto hedge funds increased significantly with the rising prices of cryptocurrencies last tear. Recently released data suggests, however, that they have suffered a negative growth in the past months due to the bear market, as news.Bitcoin.com reported.
A Billion-Dollar Bet on the Price of Bitcoin
A crypto trader from Australia has requested to place a unique bet. According to famous Australian bookmaker Tom Waterhouse, the “well-known crypto expert,” who preferred to remain anonymous, wants to wager $8.5million AUD ($6.3 million USD) that by the end of 2023 the price of one bitcoin (BTC) will exceed that of a share in Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway. If the bitcoin punter is right, he is expected to win $1.2 billion AUD (~$890 million).
Waterhouse said in a tweet this week he had put the man in touch with a large syndicate. Judging by the shared numbers, the prospective crypto gambler is looking for odds of 1/141. Bitcoin is currently trading at $6,200 USD per coin, while the share price of the US-based conglomerate currently stands at almost 290,000 USD, which is over 45 times the price of 1 BTC. Bitcoin reached almost $20,000 in December last year, and Berkshire Hathaway’s shares have been trading above $220,000 since 2016.
Horse Betting Site Now Accepts BTC and BCH
Amwager.com, a leading website for watching and betting on live horse racing, is now accepting bitcoin (BTC) and bitcoin cash (BCH) deposits. The US-based online platform is arguably the first advance deposit wagering (ADW) company to obtain regulatory approval that would allow the implementation of cryptocurrency payments.
“Over the past several years we have witnessed Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies evolve from an esoteric concept to a widely recognized digital currency that is quickly making its way into the mainstream. With mainstream acceptance, cryptocurrencies have the potential to drastically transform our global payment systems, and we at Amwager seek to be on the forefront of that transformation,” said company CEO Nelson Clemmens.
Amwager’s executive added that the company has been working with the Oregon Racing Commission and Bitpay to bring cryptocurrencies to the ADW industry. According to a press release, bitcoin and bitcoin cash offer Amwager customers an attractive alternative to the traditional methods for adding funds to their wagering accounts. The platform notes that the crypto technology addresses the “inefficiencies that exist in our current banking system by verifying and finalizing transactions rapidly,” mitigating chargeback risks and eliminating delays in the availability of funds.
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