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Avoid This Mistake When Selling Bitcoin Or Facing Jail

This article was originally published on Bitcoin magazine

In 2011, journalist and tech entrepreneur Mark Hopkins had dinner with a longtime friend. The friend offered to pay for half of the meal by sending Hopkins newly minted bitcoins that the friend had mined on his laptop. , who had never heard of the world’s first peer-to-peer cryptocurrency, joked that “because I’m a good nerd myself,” he had a laptop and downloaded the necessary hardware to accept it. Offer (about half bitcoin for a meal at a coffee house — “$13 or $14” worth of magic internet money — FYI).

That transaction kicked off Hopkins’ years-long journey down the bitcoin rabbit hole, initiating an “OG” path that included adopting an online education persona. doctor bitcoinbecome vice president of geosyn mining (based in Fort Worth, Texas) and has been selling his personally mined bitcoins to interested parties for years, either directly for cash or entirely through on-board bank transfers.

Hopkins said his interest in selling bitcoin was “primarily to meet people” for networking purposes, rarely making a profit except for large-scale transactions, and instead selling to the wealthy. He said his focus was on converting buyers into his long-term customers. marketing company.

Hopkins noted that there was “no federal guidance at all” on the sale of bitcoin at the time, so he regularly sought advice from Texas legislators, who vouched for him (and in 2017 published was done Memorandum 1037 It states that it does not require a license or regulation to sell bitcoin within the state. In fact, they encouraged Hopkins and others to “bring innovation to Texas,” Hopkins said.

Still September 5th, Hopkins announced Via his Twitter account, he said he would report to the Beaumont Federal Institute for Corrections “for selling bitcoin several years ago.”

“King of Lottery Scams”

The arrest raised questions about exactly what crime Hopkins had committed.

In 2019, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a federal agency of the U.S. Treasury Department, 18 USC 1960This means that anyone wishing to sell bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency to the public must obtain the now-famous “money transfer agent license”, and if they sell bitcoin without a license, they could face up to Five years imprisonment is proposed. It’s a crime Hopkins said he’s currently serving in prison, but the sale of bitcoin wasn’t the first activity to come to the attention of federal law enforcement.

Hopkins reports that one of his past clients was under surveillance for allegedly participating in a Nigerian lottery scam. Hopkins said the buyer initially told Hopkins she was buying bitcoin “for her husband’s electronic repair business” (he believed her at the time), but Hopkins said she He himself told investigators that he was “catfished by a Nigerian man.”

Not only did he sell bitcoin to this client on about 20 occasions, but he patiently assisted and educated her on best custody practices. Certain conditions that could lead to the closure of her bank account (this is a fairly common occurrence and a known concern, especially for bitcoin enthusiasts at the time). According to Hopkins, prosecutors later charged him with bad faith for teaching the woman her “bank fraud tricks.”

On suspicion that Hopkins was somehow a “lottery fraud tycoon,” the Hopkins family home was subject to a raid by “15 armed operatives wielding guns and issuing search warrants.” Hopkins said he confiscated more than $60,000 in personal property.

Hopkins, who was cooperative and “completely transparent” during the investigation, said he informed federal investigators about the public doctor Bitcoin and the experts. LinkedIn profileand he shared details of his past consulting work with multiple US government agencies (including the Federal Reserve) on Bitcoin and blockchain technology. claiming to have directly briefed the raid agents on best practices (such as auto-generating a new address at random for each new use), and was very surprised that this white-collar crime department agent did not. Already familiar with such technology.

Hopkins, who was cooperative and “completely transparent” during the investigation, said he informed federal investigators about the public doctor Bitcoin and the experts. LinkedIn profileand he shared details of his past consulting work with multiple US government agencies (including the Federal Reserve) on Bitcoin and blockchain technology. claiming to have directly briefed the raid agents on best practices (such as auto-generating a new address at random for each new use), and was very surprised that this white-collar crime department agent did not. Already familiar with such technology.

Based on his track record and the nature of his work (particularly his professed innocence to a lottery fraud he was actually investigating), Hopkins believes these agents “definitely have the wrong people.” I was sure he would soon come to understand and even apologize. .

However, Hopkins now states that “what probably happened” is that “they spent so many resources putting 15 agents in a man’s house, solving a serious crime, and leaving empty-handed. , had to find something I was guilty of.” Avoiding eggs in their faces, and the crime that bears his name, resulted in “operating a money transfer business without a license, based on vague guidance given by FinCEN…about a year ago.” ”.

As the case progresses, Hopkins says, “They decided not to come right after me, but after me because my wife was in my bank account.” This could lead to both Mr. and Mrs. Hopkins getting his 35 years in prison.

‘Government will fight with all its might’

Hopkins now offers to keep his wife and three children out of the lawsuit if he agrees to plead guilty to selling bitcoin without the money needed, allowing his agent to say, “How do you do that?” I believe you are guilty of prosecutorial misconduct or extortion, depending on what you want to see in the Transmitter License. However, despite defending what is right or wrong, he added: Whatever my principles, my family comes first. ’” And he accepted a plea bargain.

Following the sentencing, Hopkins used his Twitter account and media interviews to warn others about “the state’s war of aggression against privacy and the general collapse of the criminal justice system.”

“Let’s start with Ross (Ulbricht). Start with (Julian) Assange. But just look at what’s been happening in the last 20-30 years, not only in cryptography in general, governments are fighting with all their might, and frankly people like us… It’s outdated because it gets caught up.”

Calling for a “separation of money and the state,” Hopkins argued that more government forces ( Newly Appointed Internal Revenue Service) reached out to members of Congress to uphold existing First Amendment principles and privacy laws, asking for more bitcoiners based on their old transaction history, if not “stepping into the fire.” will come He states that 18 USC 1960 (Transmitter’s Licensing Requirement) “is an existential threat…existing whenever someone makes a peer-to-peer transaction…e.g. buying a truck with bitcoin, For example, sharing dinner with you. Paying half in bitcoin is a federal crime.”

He said there was a “clear increase” in the 18 cryptocurrency-related criminal prosecutions in 1960. And the target of those prosecuting or prosecuting is “to stay away from major incident crimes.”

Hopkins now not only highlights his own case, Free Ross DAO (Working to free Ulbricht, founder of early Bitcoin darknet marketplace Silk Road, from prison). Hopkins said Ulbricht was a “martyr” whose legal situation far outstripped his own, saying, “I would sell bitcoin and spend my money in ways the government doesn’t like. My life sucks today…it will be better in a year, but Ross is still in prison.”

“If we don’t… demand the government to change this law and its application, they can go after us all, given time,” Hopkins added.

While Hopkins is serving his sentence, Hopkins’ son will maintain his father’s Twitter account.Editing: Jeremy Mcnutt, COO, and geosyn mining As well as confirming Hopkin’s position is open for his return, it adds:

“Geosyn Mining fully supports Mark and hopes his story will bring some of the necessary reforms, regulations and clear guidelines to prevent incidents like Mark’s from happening again.”

The unsourced quote is from a 45-minute phone interview Dr. Bitcoin, aka Mark Hopkins, gave to Guy Malone for the next episode of the Bitcoin, For a Better World podcast. , which took place the night before he was imprisoned.follow guy malone twitter For the release of the entire audio interview.



https://bitcoinnews.com/avoid-this-mistake-when-selling-bitcoin-or-face-jail/ Avoid This Mistake When Selling Bitcoin Or Facing Jail

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