Bitcoin is not a useful tool for money launderers and here is the proof. 38-year-old Larry Dean Harmon admitted to running Helix, a bitcoin mixer service that operates on the darknet. According to the US Department of Justice, “Harmonon was promoting Helix customers on the darknet to hide transactions from law enforcement.” What was this man thinking?
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The press release continues:
Harmon admitted that Helix has partnered with several darknet markets including AlphaBay, Evolution, Cloud 9 and others to provide bitcoin money laundering services to market clients. In total, Helix moved over 350,000 Bitcoin – valued at over $ 300 million at the time of the transactions – on behalf of customers, with the largest volume coming from the darknet markets. Harmon also admitted that he had conspired with darknet providers and marketplace administrators to launder bitcoins generated by illegal drug trafficking crimes on these darknet marketplaces.
The blockchain sees everything and registers every transaction forever. A mixer, also known as a tumbler, is a service that tries to anonymize transactions. They pool funds from several parties, mix them up and serve supposedly clean coins to everyone involved. At least the coins cannot be assigned to a specific address. They charge a fee for this.
BTC price chart for 08/19/2021 on Currency.com | Source: BTC/USD on TradingView.com
Even Helix didn’t know how much it was. And bitcoin is money
Larry Dean Harmon betrayed all that is sacred, defending himself by saying that he was not guilty because Bitcoin is not money. The bill went on record and confirmed what bitcoiners have been saying for years, the Washington Post reports:
One line of argument rejected by Senior District Judge Beryl A. Howell: “Money,” she wrote, “generally means a medium of exchange, a method of payment, or a store of value. Bitcoin is those things. ”
It’s on the record. The law knows that Bitcoin is money.
In any case, one thing about mixers is that nobody is involved in the process. The system does everything. In the case of Helix, it seems that nobody knew how much money they laundered. Bitcoin.com quotes Harmon’s defender Charles Flood:
“One interesting thing about this case is that there was a double-blind system that Harmon set up with Helix,” Flood said in the federal courtroom on Wednesday. “Although he fully acknowledges that he broke the law and actually laundered money and knew it was drug receipts, he doesn’t know the exact amount that was laundered,” Flood added.
What will the law do to Larry Dean Harmon?
As a punishment, we quote the original press release again:
As part of his plea, Harmon also consented to the forfeiture of more than 4,400 bitcoins valued at more than $ 200 million at today’s prices and other seized assets implicated in the money laundering conspiracy. Harmon will be sentenced on a date yet to be determined and will face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a fine of $ 500,000 or twice the value of property involved in the transaction, a supervised release of no more than three years, and a mandatory return.
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All of this leads to our original statement that Bitcoin is not a useful tool for money launderers. Or for criminals in general. To bring the point home, the Wall Street Journal quoted Ari Redbord. He is “Former US Assistant Attorney for the District of Columbia and Former Senior Advisor to the Treasury Department,” says:
The admission of guilt shows that U.S. law enforcement agencies are pursuing cryptocurrency mixers with links to the darknet and illegal activity, while the transparency of the blockchain allows them to track the funds.
“The nature of cryptocurrency is to give law enforcement agencies a unique level of transparency of financial flow that they have never had before.”
And that’s another thing Bitcoiners have been saying all along.
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