Bitcoin trail leads to massive child porn ring bust

Dr. Craig Wright has stated on several occasions that the blockchains provide privacy not anonymity. He has stated Bitcoin is an immutable data ledger that is completely traceable and that bitcoins can and will be seized if people break the law and try to hide their ill-gotten gains in BTC. He recently pointed this fact out on stage, insinuating that people committing illicit activities will have their coins confiscated in 2020. As it turns out, he didn’t have to wait as long for his point to be proven. On the same day he told Tone Vays on the CC Forum panel that it could happen, several months before CSW said it would come out in the news, it’s in the news. Following the crypto trails, police and government agencies from several countries have worked together to bust a massive child pornography ring. 

According to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice, the ring was funded by BTC and the police action saw the arrest of one South Korean national and “hundreds of others” involved in the “largest darknet child pornography website” in the world. Scores of underage victims had reportedly been abused by users of the ring before being rescued by police.

This past March, agents from the U.S., the U.K. and South Korea worked in tandem to arrest 23-year-old Jong Woo Son, who has been indicted for operating the Welcome To Video child exploitation market. From that initial arrest, police also confiscated computer equipment and about “eight terabytes of child sexual exploitation videos” that led to users of the platform being discovered. Another 337 users have since been arrested and charged, spanning across the U.S. and in countries such as Spain, Germany, Australia, Brazil, the U.K., Canada and others. 

According to the chief investigator for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which participated in the crypto tracing efforts, it wasn’t overly difficult to follow the digital currency. Don Fort explained, “Through the sophisticated tracing of bitcoin transactions, IRS-CI special agents were able to determine the location of the Darknet server, identify the administrator of the website and ultimately track down the website server’s physical location in South Korea. This largescale criminal enterprise that endangered the safety of children around the world is no more. Regardless of the illicit scheme, and whether the proceeds are virtual or tangible, we will continue to work with our federal and international partners to track down these disgusting organizations and bring them to justice.”

The users were tracked down through digital traces left by their crypto payments to the site, showing that digital currency is not as anonymous as some might believe. The acting executive associate director of the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) division of U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, Alysa Erichs, asserts in the press release, “[Today’s] indictment sends a strong message to criminals that no matter how sophisticated the technology or how widespread the network, child exploitation will not be tolerated in the United States. Our entire justice system will stop at nothing to prevent these heinous crimes, safeguard our children, and bring justice to all.”

The crackdown proves what Dr. Craig Wright has been pointing out all these years—Bitcoin is not anonymous, and using it to hide money acquired from shady means is actually stupid since it is an immutable and trackable data ledger.

Watch the CC Forum panel in London with Dr. Wright, Tone Vays, Nouriel Roubini, Brock Pierce, Bobby Lee, and Max Studennikoff:

New to Bitcoin? Check out CoinGeek’s Bitcoin for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about Bitcoin—as originally envisioned by Satoshi Nakamoto—and blockchain.

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