The Russia Election Hacks – Bitcoin’s Role and Why It’s Not the Best “Criminal’s Currency”

Whether you like Trump or you grit your teeth at him, I think we can all agree the 2016 U.S. Presidential election caused a political tidal wave on an unprecedented scale. The “non-political” candidate managed to win the most important seat in the U.S. government and ever since an even bigger wedge has grown between Republicans and Democrats. Who knew that was possible!

And then there’s the riots. Well before Trump became President they started, officially, the day he announced his candidacy on June 16,2015. Even non-Americans have been protesting against the man from all parts of the world. One of the largest demonstrations to take place outside the U.S. against Trump was just last month in London. Once again, the blow-up version of Trump in a baby nappy flew high above tens of thousands of protesters.

One could argue the “Great Nation” now mirrors the civil unrest of a war-torn country. It’s remarkable, really, the shear number of all the protests. From thousands of ‘pussy hats’ worn the day after Trump’s inauguration at the Women’s March in Washington, the Not My President’s Day rally which took the place of President’s Day, and the Impeachment Marches still being organized, my great grandmother would roll over in her grave if she saw what was going on. And, the controversy just continues to rage on, hotter than an erupting volcano on Mount Kilauea.

But let’s rewind back to the part about how Trump actually won the election – the real scandal – and how Bitcoin played a role in the Russia election hacks. 

When the Russian spies went about hacking into the 2016 U.S. election they didn’t go about it with traditional payment methods, paper or plastic. They tried to be smarter, using Bitcoin instead. There were things they needed to pay for on their end, like registering domain names and hosting servers, and they didn’t want these payments to be traced back to them.

The malware campaigns the spies launched against the Democratic National Committee gave them access to American official’s email accounts. They probably thought they were taking every precaution not to get caught but as it turns out, they did.

Apparently, Bitcoin actually worked against the hackers, leading to their indictment. American investigators traced the Bitcoin back to the Russians because all Bitcoin transactions are not cloaked in secrecy; they’re publicly displayed on the blockchain for anyone to see. By analyzing these transactions, you can find patterns and then link them to identities. It’s a tactic investigators use that criminals and governments alike should consider before using Bitcoin in their dirty deeds.

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It seems Bitcoin’s bad boy reputation is going a bit limp. There are other digital currencies that are more popular for their anonymity. Monero, Zcash, PVX, and a few other cryptocurrencies have become top contenders for the privacy they offer. As for Trump, not only is he the most protested President in the history of the United States, he may also keep the worst company. To date, the Trump probe has brought on a slew of charges: four Americans with past affiliations with Trump’s campaign or administration, 13 Russian nationals, 12 Russian intelligence officers, three Russian companies, and two others. I think the Trump administration just highlights how Bitcoin in the wrong hands, particularly corrupt governments, actually takes away the very freedom it tries to give the People. 

 

 

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