Whistleblower Cases

Whistleblower Cases

If you find yourself in a position where your employer or another company is acting fraudulently toward the government, you may be able to stop their illegal activity and gain compensation at the same time. If you have ever been ordered by your employer to cover up false information or destroy documents, you may feel powerless, as though your job is at stake if you do not obey these instructions.

Every year hundreds of individuals contact attorneys about fraud committed against the government, and are able to collect compensation from their employer or other companies which commit fraud against the government.

Common Types of Qui Tam Cases

Many people have heard of different types of fraud against the government. Some of the more common types of fraud that lead to qui tam cases include:

Insurance companies against government
Government contracts
Tax fraud
Bailout fraud

Each of these types of fraud is covered under the False Claims Act, which protects whistleblowers from action being taken against them by their employer. Your employer cannot fire you, dock your pay, demote you, harass or threaten you for being a part of a whistleblower case, and is subject to severe penalties if it tries to do so.

Fraudulent Activities against the Government

Fraud can mean providing the government with misinformation intentionally, or it may mean withholding key information in certain circumstances. Fraud against the government is generally defined as:

Falsifying statements in order to receive payment
Fabricating false records to corroborate false statements
Buying government property from an unauthorized person or entity
Submitting a receipt for payment to the government without knowledge of the receipt’s validity
Theft of government property or property intended for the government
Conspiracy to perform any of these activities

If you have witnessed any of these activities, you can take action to stop the process while protecting yourself and receiving between 15-25% of any awards in the government’s favor. Even if the government does not choose to pursue the case with you, you may be able to make recoveries for fraudulent activities performed against the government.


How to Prevent Phishing

How to Prevent Phishing

One of the most rampant cybercrime’s on the World Wide Web is phishing. In this the culprit’s main purpose is to obtain your personal information – like your user name, passwords or credit card details. This kind of crime is done by sending you the fake mails and then forcing or redirecting you to the websites that are not genuine. These websites are look so original that their URLs are also similar. It becomes difficult to ascertain the truth of these sites and a gullible customer may fall prey to the crime. If you follow these ways then you can avoid being caught in the phishing scams:

· Always check who is sending the email. This is perhaps the most effective way. If the email address does not belong to your regular service provider/bank, then it is highly avoidable. None of the banks will tell you to verify your account information. So any email which tells you to fill in your account information is completely fake. Just delete the mail at once.
· All the phishing mails contain an illegitimate “Click here” link. This link leads to websites which are governed by the criminal webmasters. Also when you will view at the domain name you will find that there is something wrong with the slashes which follow it. Any bank link will be encrypted with an https://. However, the link starts with http:// only, don’t even think of clicking on it.
· Many phishing emails come with a fake phone number and address. If this is the case match it with the address and the contact information that was provided originally to you by your bank. If it doesn’t match, the mail should be immediately discarded from your inbox.
· The social networking sites have lots of users and people exchange their day to day information over there. Your name is over there. The perpetrators take hold of that information and send the mail to you. If they know your name, don’t get alarmed. But if they know your account number, simply check it with the one that you have and also re-confirm it with the bank whether they have sent any mail to you.

Thus phishing protection becomes mandatory in today’s scenario. You should use a good password manager which does not display your personal data in case the site you have visited in not legitimate. There are some password managers available in the market which protects your login information by encrypting it. They guard you from any identity theft.

Property of RecoverMyPc Inc.

Is USENET Part of the Deepnet?

Is USENET Part of the Deepnet?

Deepnet, DarkNet and other, similar terms, have been in the media a lot lately. Most famously, the hacker group Anonymous took down some sites on the DarkNet that were distributing illegal content. This has made quite a few people understandably interested in what the Deepnet really is. It’s not USENET, which will become obvious as you start to understand how and why the Deepnet or DarkNet exist.

Getting Indexed

You might have heard terms such as “search engine optimization”, “SEO” and “search engine marketing in your travels across the web. These are fields that relate to getting search engines to notice them and, thus, to add those sites to the search engine indexes. It’s actually quite a bit of work to get a search engine to notice you; it’s hard to stand out among billions of sites! One of the ways that search engines index a site is by following links from other sites that lead to it.

On the USENET system, the entire point of having a newsgroup is to have it added to as many servers as possible or, at least, to as many servers to which the newsgroup is relevant. USENET doesn’t require search engine indexing, though Google has an extensive archive of historical USENET posts.

Sometimes, sites don’t get indexed at all, and that’s where the DarkNet starts.

Not All Sinister

When sites don’t get indexed, it’s usually because the webmaster was incompetent in some regard, because they didn’t put any effort into SEO or because there was simply no need to have the page indexed at all. For example, some research projects have websites dedicated to them that are just bibliographies or other material that no one but participants would be interested in, so there’s no point in having those sites indexed at all. The sites end up floating around in the Internet ether, being of little interest to anyone and are never really picked up by the search engine crawlers. These sites become part of the DarkNet.

There are also millions of sites that are started and abandoned by designers and webmasters, usually amateurs. These sites end up becoming part of the DarkNet, particularly when they’re on free hosting where they’re never removed and where they just sit forever. Sometimes people stumble upon them and end up finding interesting resources, sometimes not.

Some DarkNet sites are used for illegal purposes, but there is little chance that you’re going to stumble on these. The search engines simply don’t have them in their indexes so, without typing the URL right into your browser bar, you’re not going to find them.

USENET is not part of the DarkNet. USENET is transparent and is designed around sharing information, not hiding it. It’s also something to which you buy a subscription, so finding it is obviously not all that hard. The USENET, however, has a huge backlog of archived articles and other information that makes it as fascinating as any hidden part of the Internet.

If you are frustrated by the number of USENET choices the educate yourself about Usenet services and Usenet providers. Choose among the best available and learn about best USENET and astraweb USENET review when you visit UsenetReviewz.com

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What is the Black Market?

A black market, underground economy, or shadow economy is a business sector portrayed by some type of resistant conduct with an institutional arrangement of rules.[1] If the standard characterizes the arrangement of merchandise and administrations whose creation and circulation is precluded by law, non-complaince with the tenet constitutes an underground market exchange following the exchange itself is illicit. Parties participating in the creation or appropriation of precluded products and administrations are individuals from the illicit economy. Illustrations incorporate the medication exchange, prostitution, illicit coin exchanges and human trafficking. Infringement of the expense code including pay charge avoidance constitutes enrollment in the unreported economy.[2][3] Because charge avoidance or support in an underground market action is unlawful, members will endeavor to conceal their conduct from the legislature or administrative authority.[4] Cash use is the favored medium of trade in illicit exchanges since money utilization does not leave a footprint.[5] Common thought processes in working in illegal businesses are to exchange booty, keep away from duties and directions, or skirt value controls or apportioning. Normally the totality of such action is alluded to with the distinct article as a supplement to the official economies, by business sector for such products and administrations, e.g. “the underground market in shrub meat”.

The underground market is unmistakable from the dim business sector, in which wares are circulated through channels which, while legitimate, are informal, unapproved, or unintended by the first producer, and the white business sector.

Black market trades have online partners comprising of darknet business sector sites, for example, the Silk Road, singular sites, discussions and talk rooms. While covers exist, the online markets are centered around particular regions including drugs, traded off certifications, malware, advanced merchandise and weapons. Robbery particularly happens on private or open warez and BitTorrent destinations and additionally different distributed record sharing systems.

The underground market’s numerous downsides incorporate the danger of misrepresentation, the likelihood of savagery, being saddled with fake merchandise or debased items (which is particularly perilous on account of pharmaceuticals), and the way that the purchaser has no plan of action.

With respect to cash illegal businesses, they exist principally in countries that – separated from money controls – have feeble financial basics, (for example, a high expansion rate and low coin saves) and a settled swapping scale where the residential cash is pegged at an unreasonably abnormal state to the US dollar or other money. Thus, the money black market is thriving in countries like Argentina, Iran, and Venezuela.

Taking part operating at a profit business sector is not generally a high contrast matter. Assume you are out of town with your family in an intriguing area and come up short on recipe for your child? In the event that there is nothing accessible in neighborhood stores and the best way to obtain infant equation is through an underground market exchange, few individuals would dither to make the buy.

Shouldn’t something be said about paying three times the face estimation of a ticket to a hawker to see your most loved band or football group? This is likewise a black market exchange that a great many people may discover legitimate. Further, in various creating countries, life-sparing drugs are hard to come by and frequently, the main option is to secure them through the black market. While faultfinders may carp this exclusive serves to sustain the unlawful and exploitative routine of profiteering from another person’s adversity, partaking operating at a profit business sector is a moderately simple choice to make when somebody’s life is in question.

More of Black Market

A Black business sector is a segment of the economy where exchanges happen without the learning of the legislature and generally include the overstepping of specific laws, for example, documenting appropriate expense forms.

A black market can likewise allude to the offering of a specific decent. For instance, if value controls or standard’s exist for a decent, then typically an underground market creates. A case is a ticket tout offering tickets far above face esteem.

The Size of the Black Market

the extent of the black market shifts from nation to nation. It relies on upon different components, for example,

Monetary improvement. creating economies regularly have a greater underground market, and a portion of this is because of the presence of a bargain economy which falls outside the dispatch of the administration.

Level of Police control and mafia association

Numerous previous soviet nations encountered a gigantic development operating at a profit market after the fall of Communism. Comrade economies had a tendency to be profoundly directed thus when the control fell away it made a hole for new “business people” to take care of fundamental free market activity.

Number of occupations made by underground market, all inclusive: 1.8 billion

All out US unlawful exchange esteem: $625.63 billion

A portion of the greatest markets:

Body Parts

The World Health Organization gauges that 10,000 illicit surgeries including organs happen each year

106,879 organs were transplanted in 2010 (legitimately and unlawfully)

This is only 10% of worldwide need

Normal expense per part:

Pair of Eyeballs: $1,525

Scalp: $607

Skull with Teeth: $1,200

Shoulder: $500

Coronary Artery: $1,525

Heart: $119,000

Liver: $157,000

Hand and Forearm: $385

Half quart of Blood: $337

Spleen: $508

Stomach: $508

Small Intestine: $2,519

Kidney: $262,000

Kidneys make up 75% of worldwide unlawful organ exchange

On account of rising rates of diabetes, hypertension and other heart issues

Gallbladder: $1,219

Skin: $10 per square crawl

The unlawful organ exchange has huge markets in China, India and Pakistan

Fascinating Pets and Animals

Numerous imperiled creatures are trafficked each year to be intriguing pets, to be eaten or to be utilized for restorative purposes

Rundown of creature costs (USD):

Live chimpanzee – $50

Elephant – $28,000

Geckos in the Phillippines (used to treat asthma) – $2,300

Gorillas – $400,000

Ivory – $1,300/lb

Komodo mythical serpent – $30,000

Polar bear skin – $7,760 – $9,930

Rhino horns – $97,000/kg

Shark balances (utilized as a part of shark blade soup) – $100/kg

Snake venom – $215,175/liter

Live Tiger – $50,000

Dead Tiger – $5,000

Tortoises – $10,000 in China

Turtle eggs – $1 in Costa Rica


More than 5 million individuals in the US misuse opiate painkillers

Oxycodone and other physician endorsed pharmaceuticals are among the most mishandled medications

4,048 passings in 2010

Strict DEA directions power numerous individuals to get their medications from the black market

Comprehensively, cocaine creates $35 billion on the underground market

Normal US road esteem: $174.2/gram

Bliss – Average US road esteem: $35/tablet

Heroin – Average US road esteem: $200/gram

Weed – Average US road esteem: $20 – $1,800/oz

Meth – Average US road esteem: $3 – $500/gram

The agreement slaughtering of a non military personnel can cost up to $25,000 on the underground market


Canada’s 2004 Assisted Human Reproduction Act forbids installment for sperm or eggs

Sperm banks the nation over rapidly ran dry

The black market gives no certification that sperm is protected or without std

Today, more than 90% of Canada’s semen utilized for manual sperm injection is from back-rear way bargains or from US revenue driven sperm banks

Unrefined petroleum

US market esteem: $10 million

Strict government control has pushed some individuals to sneak raw petroleum

black market criminals damage pipelines and after that offer by the barrel

In 2010, Mexican government oil restraining infrastructure Pemex distinguished 712 pipelines robberies

This was up from 2005’s 136 burglaries

This brought about unrefined petroleum costs to rise just about $100/barrel

In times of record high oil costs, raw petroleum can be sold on the underground market for not as much as half of that on the legitimate business sector


A black market is the unlawful buy and offer of merchandise and administrations.


Drug managing is a standout amongst the most noticeable illicit businesses in the United States. In this black market, individuals purchase and offer medications realizing that such movement is typically illicit and that having the items themselves is normally unlawful. Notwithstanding, the interest for medications is sufficiently high to trump the law, however individuals generally endeavor to hide their cooperation.

Numerous illicit businesses exist past medications, notwithstanding, and however the items or administrations might be legitimate, the way in which they are purchased and sold might be unlawful. For instance, it is lawful to have a housekeeper, however it is unlawful to enlist a housekeeper who is not in the United States legitimately.

Since administrative limitations may build the cost of a few products and administrations, sometimes direction can really provoke the advancement of underground markets. This was especially the case in the mid 1900s, when the United States banned liquor, which made an enormous underground market for the creation, transportation and offer of alcohol.


The nearness of black trades everywhere throughout the world is proof that the laws of free market activity are for all intents and purposes difficult to challenge. Whenever direction or tax collection turns out to be too high, when free market activity are way out of equalization, or when rivalry has been excessively confined, individuals will dependably search for an approach to get products or administrations less expensive, quicker or all the more effortlessly.


The Silk Road, for all its clever uses of security protections like Tor and Bitcoin to protect the site’s lucrative drug trade, still offered its enemies a single point of failure. When the FBI seized the server that hosted the market in October and arrested its alleged owner Ross Ulbricht, the billion-dollar drug bazaar came crashing down.

If one group of Bitcoin black market enthusiasts has their way, the next online free-trade zone could be a much more elusive target.

At a Toronto Bitcoin hackathon earlier this month, the group took home the $20,000 first prize with a proof-of-concept for a new online marketplace known as DarkMarket, a fully peer-to-peer system with no central authority for the feds to attack. If DarkMarket’s distributed architecture works, law enforcement would be forced to go after every contraband buyer and seller one by one, a notion that could signal a new round in the cat-and-mouse game of illicit online sales.

“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” said Amir Taaki, one of DarkMarket’s creators and the founder of the anarchist group Unsystem, in a short speech at the Toronto Bitcoin Expo unveiling the project. He compared DarkMarket’s improvements on the now-defunct Silk Road to the advent of Bittorrent, a decentralized technology that revamped Napster’s more vulnerable model of filesharing and flummoxed copyright enforcers. “Like a hydra, those of us in the community that push for individual empowerment are in an arms race to equip the people with the tools needed for the next generation of digital black markets.”


Bitcoin Weekly Digest

Here at CoinReport, we like to breakdown the week’s bitcoin news and headlines for our readers. This week’s digest, ending May 3rd 2014, has seen the mood surrounding bitcoin darken once more. Regulatory issues and opinions are among the current woes for bitcoin.

More Chinese bitcoin woes

The People’s Bank of China issued further remarks regarding the funding of BTC China by Chinese Banks this week. Whether directly or indirectly providing services to bitcoin related companies, the PBOC has warned that this must be stopped. The effect of this demand was an initial drop in bitcoin price to approximately $450.  Following the announcement,  BTC China halted chinese RMB deposits. BTC China stated:

Because of this morning’s announcement by the China Merchants Bank, BTC China, in the interest of its users and platforms security, has decided to suspend Chinese RMB recharges (deposits).

The decision to halt RMB deposits caused a Twitter backlash for BTC China. The drop in the price of bitcoin, according to decisions made in China, regarding the cryptocurrency, sparked accusations of price fixing by BTC China.

FinCEN Clarifies Position on Mining and Escrow Services

FinCEN issued a statement clarifying their position on escrow and cloud mining services. The release ruled that companies offering these particular services are not considered money transmitters. These businesses are not labelled under the Bank Secrecy Act. FinCEN stated:

“Renting of mining computer systems to third parties does not make the Company a money transmitter under BSA regulations.” With regard to digital currencies being treated as property, FinCEN added “All virtual currency mined by the third party remains the third party’s property, and the Company has no access to the third party wallet, nor receives or pays virtual currency on the third party’s behalf.”

Escrow services are exchanges between two parties, to ensure that both follow through with an arranged transaction, while remaining anonymous. The fact that escrow services physically hold bitcoins until specific conditions are met by both parties is not an activity covered by FinCEN law.

Stateside Warnings Against Bitcoin Usage

More warnings against bitcoin continue to be issued across the United States, this time in Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions Consumers warned individuals considering investing in digital currencies that they could potentially be breaking the law.  Fear surrounding  the volatility of bitcoin and the risk of theft by third party institutions appear to have triggered the warnings.

On a wider scale the NASAA also warned against bitcoin usage.  The president of the North American Securities Administrators Association stated:

“The value of virtual currencies is highly volatile and the concept behind the currency is difficult to understand even for sophisticated financial experts.”

While the statement may be a little unfair to the intelligence of non-financial experts, the warning of bitcoins volatility is warranted. As with any investment, investing in bitcoin requires some homework to be done and some care to be taken. There is still no need to instill fear in potential investors.

Some Positive Outlooks Remain

Like his father Ron Paul, Rand Paul has revealed his outlook for bitcoin is positive. He acknowledged bitcoin does not have the true characteristics of money, but believes there is room for improvement and that technology like this could be beneficial. On the whole his philosophy on bitcoin is forward thinking.

Former United States Deputy Secretary of Treasury, Larry Summers, had some positive words regarding innovative new monetary systems this week. Though he is unsure whether digital currencies as they currently stand will work, he did say that those who rejected innovations in the field are on the “wrong side of history.” He admitted there were problems with the current monetary system and went on to say:

“The people who rejected the Internet as a curiosity for scientists were on the wrong side of history, the people who rejected digital photography as really an artificial thing were on the wrong side of history, and the people who felt that non-gimmicky tennis racquets were made with wood were on the wrong side of history. So it seems to me that the people who confidently reject all the innovation here [in new payment and monetary systems] are on the wrong side of history.”

Uncertainty is rife but it is not all negative. For most, like the Bank of Canada, it is simply too early to tell how successful bitcoin, and cryptocurrencies in general, will be. That is not to say the belief is that digital currencies will fail, just that there is a way to go before more serious discussion regarding new policies are needed.

DarkMarket rebranding to OpenBazaar

This week saw the DarkMarket launch online by developers Amir Taaki and Cody Wilson. The successor to Silk Road may be considered the new online black market. Though the Silk Road was brought down by federal government, the creators of DarkMarket have boldly claimed their site is completely invulnerable to law enforcement. The news may spark controversy for bitcoin as DarkMarket may provide a ground for illegal activity online. Unlike Silk Road, there is no owner, so every user on the peer to peer site would need to be arrested to shut it down. To distance DarkMarket from this illegal image and establish it as a decentralized online marketplace it has since been rebranded as OpenBazaar, following a petition by the bitcoin community on Reddit. The original developers now no longer have any association with the operation.

Following the launch of DarkMarket, or OpenBazaar, Amir Taaki and Cody Wilson released the highly anticipated Dark Wallet, a financial tool aimed at keeping payments and wallet addresses private and anonymous. The wallet, currently in alpha, is aimed at the bitcoin community, and keeps issues like cooperation for regulations in mind. Hopefully this change in name will have the desired effect, that those wanting to call it the Free Market, had in mind.

In Other News

Big news for Scrypt ASICs miners was announced this week. The race for the first ASICs miners capable of mining scrypt based altcoins, like Litecoin, is coming to an end. Scrypt based mining has traditionally been carried out using standard computers with GPU. Now, ZeusMiner have announced they are taking pre-orders on their new range of scrypt-based ASICs miners.

MtGox has also agreed to settle their lawsuit with the class action plaintiffs of the American case . Finally, Robocoin have opened the first global bitcoin bank, providing more familiar online banking service set up, through which customers can manage their accounts. All Robocoin bitcoin ATMs will feed back to the bitcoin bank and users will be able to send, store, and access bitcoins at any Robocoin ATM.


Symantec researchers tell TechWeek that dark market crooks are getting big bucks from selling zero-days, despite the rise of legitimate bug bounties

Previously unknown, unpatched vulnerabilities, known as zero-day flaws, are often selling for between $50,000 and $100,000 (£30,ooo-£60,000) on underground hacking forums, according to Symantec researchers.

Despite bug bounty programmes from major software vendors like Microsoft and Google that offer researchers thousands of pounds for their vulnerabilities, underground criminals are still able to offer more, said Candid Wueest, from Symantec’s Security Response team.

He said prices for zero-days were rising because they were increasingly difficult to find.

“For code execution through a browser… it often takes a few vulnerabilities together to execute code,” he toldTechWeekEurope. “This makes it more difficult to find one and then the prices rise.”

Wueest said it was “a small market but definitely regular” and even if the likes of Microsoft can offer money via bug bounty programmes, there will be someone offering more on the dark web forums.

In 2012, TechWeek heard that a vulnerability affecting Oracle Java was selling for $100,000, but such high sales were a rarity.

Microsoft recently raised the maximum amount it would pay for reported vulnerabilities and also said it would give money out to those who simply alerted the company to zero-days, without having to show how an exploit would work.

Even Tesla, the car manufacturer, has adopted a vulnerability reward programme, indicating there will be more legitimate money on offer for researchers in the coming years.

Yet attackers are still keen to get their hands on such flaws. Symantec told TechWeek it had seen the attackers thought to have been involved in breaching Google in 2009 in action in the last couple of weeks.

The Elderwood hacker group was seen targeting various industries, including government defence contractors, with a number of zero-days, and has continued to operate despite much attention from the security community.


Bitcoin has continued its steady recovery following a dip earlier this week that saw its value drop to as low as $425 (£251).

All other major cryptocurrencies have followed in bitcoin’s wake, with moderate gains of between 1% and 6% across the markets over the last 24 hours.

The biggest gain in value comes from flappycoin, the cryptocurrency named after the hit smartphone game FlappyBird. Its market capitalisation grew by almost 100%, taking it up to above $85,000.

Bloomberg gives bitcoin stamp of approval

Bloomberg has announced plans to list bitcoin prices on its financial data terminals, served to more than 320,000 subscribers.

The move by Bloomberg will be welcome news to the bitcoin community, giving the cryptocurrency a stamp of respectability following recent turmoil in China that drew into question bitcoin’s future.

“While bitcoin and other virtual currency markets are still nascent, they represent an interesting intersection of finance and technology,” said Tod Van Name, Bloomberg global head of fixed income, currencies and commodities, in a blogpost.

“Given that Bloomberg sits squarely at that intersection, providing pricing for this underdeveloped market is a natural fit for us.”

Preliminary hearing for MtGox

A US lawyer prosecuting MtGox has said that he believes the settlement proposal will be well-received by the supervising judge due to the benefits it provides to former users of the beleaguered bitcoin exchange.

The preliminary hearing for plans to revive MtGox is due to begin today. An investor group represented by Sunlot Holdings believes that it is possible to prevent the planned liquidation of the bitcoin exchange and in turn restore customer confidence.

“We think that the overall plan gives consumers and creditors the best chance of being made whole or even more than whole if things go well,” Jay Edelson, one of the lawyers heading the US class action suit, told CoinDesk.


Undergraduates at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology will be given $100 (£59) worth of bitcoins when they return to study this autumn, in an attempt to jumpstart a bitcoin ecosystem.

The project is being led by Jeremy Rubin, 19, an undergraduate in his second year at the university, and Daniel Elitzer, an MBA student at MIT’s Sloan School of Management. Between them, the pair have raised more than $500,000, principally from Alexander Morcos, an MIT alum who works in high-frequency trading in New York.

“We decided to announce this project now to give students lead time,” says Elitzer. “We want to issue a challenge to some of the brightest technical minds of a generation: ‘When you step on to campus this fall, all of your classmates are going to have access to bitcoin; what are you going to build to give them interesting ways to use it?'”

“Giving students access to cryptocurrencies is analogous to providing them with internet access at the dawn of the internet era,” adds Rubin.

Both Rubin and Elitzer have prior experience with bitcoin. The former is the developer of Tidbit, a project to replace online advertising with bitcoin mining, while the latter is the president and founder of MIT’s Bitcoin Club.

Created in a hackathon in November 2013, Tidbit was proof-of-concept that would let website owners mine bitcoins on visitors’ computers rather than show them adverts. The project ran into difficulty when it was targeted by the New Jersey division of consumer affairs, and Rubin iscurrently being supported by the EFF, the online-rights charity.

Rubin and Elitzer first met in the fallout of the Tidbit subpoena, and while the concept of the giveaway was initially Rubin’s idea, the pair expanded it together. “I am not super involved in the Bitcoin community,” says Rubin, “but it is one of the subjects which I frequently think about. Dan has many more ties in the community.”

Speaking to the Tech, MIT’s student newspaper, the university’s head of undergraduate education, Dennis Freeman, supported the bitcoin giveaway. “By bringing students and faculty together to inform members of the MIT community about what bitcoin is and to research its use, Rubin and Elitzer are helping everyone to better understand this emerging technology.”

Rubin and Elitzer’s plan echoes other giveaways common across the bitcoin community. In April 2013, a user on Reddit calling themselves the “Bitcoin Billionaire” gave away over $13,000 in the currency, using a function on the site that lets users “tip” each other in bitcoin. Normally, the tips are for around 50¢, but the anonymous user was giving away up to 20 bitcoin at once. At the time, bitcoin was worth around $200 a coin, making that single gift the equivalent of $4000.

In many cases, the aim is similar to Rubin and Elitzer’s: if more people own bitcoin, there is more chance that the currency will reach a critical mass where it will be able to support itself.

But for the MIT Bitcoin Club, there’s the additional benefit that making bitcoin popular in the middle of one of the highest concentrations of hackers, coders and engineers in the world could be key to building up infrastructure for the cryptocurrency. Part of the reason for announcing the giveaway early, they say, was to encourage local businesses to get set up to take bitcoin payments.

“This will spark new development,” says Rubin. “Even if students simply use their bitcoin to buy stuff, someone has to build an architecture to enable buying stuff. And what if buying with bitcoin is really convenient? Maybe there will be an active conversion into bitcoin.”


It has been hailed as the successor of notorious online drugs emporium Silk Road, but its creators say that it is all but invulnerable to the type of investigations that led to the demise of its predecessor.

DarkMarket, which took the $20,000 first prize at the Toronto Bitcoin hackathon, bypasses the possibility of its mastermind being caught by federal authorities… by having none.

The network is completely peer-to-peer, and for law enforcement agencies to eliminate it they would not be able to target one individual, as they did with alleged Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht. Instead, they would have to track down every single user.

Amir Taaki, one of the site’s creators and co-founder of anarchist group Unsystem, told Wired, that there was an “arms race” on to make the successor to Silk Road.

“Like a hydra, those of us in the community that push for individual empowerment are in an arms race to equip the people with the tools needed for the next generation of digital black markets,” he said.

Its developers claim that a Rube Goldberg machine of checks and balances is used to ensure that users don’t cheat each other without requiring the oversight of a moderator or other systems of authority.

Otherwise, the site functions like Silk Road, with buyers and sellers able to communicate privately, pages where sellers can show their contraband, a ratings system for sellers, and a system that ensures bitcoin transactions are only received on receipt of goods.

The project though, is far from finished, with its creators tied up to other projects. However they have posted the code to allow other online black market enthusiasts to complete the project.

“This is just a simple prototype, but we wanted to show people that it’s possible,” Taaki says. “But this is going to happen. If not us, someone else will do it.”

Information on the black market, underground economy, shadow economy and dark net