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打击比特币犯罪:以其人之道还治其人之身

臭名昭著的比特币罪犯Ross Ulbricht等人相继落网。这让大家明白了,其实比特币犯罪也不是可以一直逍遥法外的。而且执法部门也认识到,比特币的阴暗面其实也有积极效应,至少能够在追击罪犯的时候发挥功用。

有些比特币罪犯的名声我们早已耳闻。比如捷克的Thomas Jiikovský,他承认自己参与了一场价值高达1.5亿的庞氏骗局,这也被认为是第一宗比特币证券欺诈案。在这之后,前比特币大亨Mark Karpelès也已被警方在日本羁押,警方指控他在比特币交易平台Mt.Gox上实施欺诈、挪用公款。

现在,你明白了吧。

也许那些罪犯曾经天真地认为比特币的匿名性能保证他们安枕无忧,而匿名性一度被认为与比特币相伴而生。然而最近《Science》杂志的最新报告中却详细阐述了司法研究者是如何利用比特币,并通过充分利用这一技术抓住了那些自以为是的罪犯。

因为即使是比特币也会留下线索。研究人员说,线索来自于比特币的数据库,它可以帮助执法部门严厉打击利用参与比特币犯罪却仍然逍遥法外的家伙。此外,研究者还可以通过使用数字取证、经济学以及计算机科学技术的混合手段对犯罪分子予以还击。

据伦敦大学学院(University College London,UCL)计算机科学家Sarah Meiklejohn称,比特币刚刚面世的时候,司法界中也曾萌生恐慌。但几年过去后,多次逮捕和审判罪犯的案例都说明,比特币罪犯并不总是那么难被抓住。

这让监管和执法部门意识到,密码货币及其丰富的数据可以帮助他们跟踪比特币的踪迹。而且根据宾夕法尼亚州立大学(Pennsylvania State University)计算机科学家Patrick McDaniel的说法,我们应该把比特币看作一种“经济学前沿模式”。

这意味着:假设如果一个比特币只是囤积而从不混合回系统中,那么它就是安全的。但一旦比特币消费或转账,它就开辟了取证数据的“潘多拉的盒子”。

俄罗斯即将打击比特币(甚至进一步行动)

俄罗斯真的很讨厌比特币。

现在,俄罗斯立法者将对任何使用比特币从事相关活动的人判处七年监禁,以遏制国内比特币活动的可能性。奇怪的是,俄罗斯央行仍然有审核区块链技术的计划。

但是,俄罗斯仍然希望将比特币活动列为非法,至少俄罗斯财政部在新提议后的提案草案中是这么表述的。议员们希望确保国内所有货币都来自俄罗斯中央银行。

听起来这一做法对俄罗斯来说是正确的。因为该国现有法律中规定,从事任何有关数字货币的生产、销售或分销相关的活动都会被判处劳动教养刑一年。我想这也许比七年监禁要好一点?

不过俄罗斯财政部还是希望在这项法律条例上增加一些附加规定,包括高达50万卢布(约合7,100美元)的罚款。但是如果“犯罪分子”无力支付呢?他们就必须提前抵押掉自己三年的工作,或者去坐四年牢。

可以肯定地说,俄罗斯近期内不会是一个对比特币友好的国家。

 央行视角中的比特币——类似于数字货币

虽然比特币的设计初衷是一种脱离政府管制的自由主义式货币。但是现在,中央银行的讨论重点已经转向了如何通过类似比特币的技术发行自己的数字货币,使得这种货币可以在类似于美联储等央行机构的控制之下运转。

这个即将开发上线的系统叫作RSCoin。项目研究从去年启动,由伦敦大学学院的研究员所设计,设计灵感来自英格兰银行的建议。当然,英国对于启动比特币和区块链技术相关项目的兴趣已经远远超过了美国。

类似比特币,RSCoin采用加密技术形成数字货币。它也使用了通过分布式总账校验和记录交易数据的处理过程。但是,与比特币不同的是,这个总账不会被特定数量的用户/计算机控制(或者,也不会引起由于目前比特币社区中的有限数量造成的争议)。 RSCoin的总账会由中央银行来控制,并留下负责控制货币的加密密钥。

当然,比特币一直没有得到央行的全面批准。但是,由央行控制的数字货币?这是一件有可能得到央行支持的事情。

 

 

As infamous bitcoin criminals like Ross Ulbricht have learned, it’s not impossible to get caught.

And, as law enforcement has learned, the dark side of bitcoin has its perks. At least, when it comes to catching criminals.

Criminals, for example, like the Czech national Thomas Jiikovský, who pled guilty to operating a $150 million Ponzi scheme in what is believed to be the first bitcoin securities fraud case. And then, there was Mark Karpelès, the former bitcoin tycoon, who is in police custody in Japan under charges of fraud andembezzlement for his Mt. Gox bitcoin exchange that went bust.

You get the point.

And now, a recent report from Science details how forensic researchers are using bitcoin for good, by tapping into its technology to catch those criminals who had the naive belief that they were safely cloaked in the veil of anonymity that was once thought to come married to bitcoin.

Because even bitcoin has a trail. A trail that these researchers say comes with a treasure trove of data that can help law enforcement crack down on criminals using bitcoin to live outside the law. After all, where there’s a will, there’s a way. And through the use of academic researchers who use forensics, economics and a mix of computer science, there’s a way to fire back.

That’s according to Sarah Meiklejohn, a computer scientist at University College London. What Meiklejohn said is that the introduction of bitcoin initially sprouted fear within the law enforcement community, but as the past few years, packed with arrests and trials, have shown, bitcoin criminals aren’t always so difficult to catch.

That’s led law enforcement to realize how cryptocurrency and its rich data can help them trace the bitcoin trail. And, according to Patrick McDaniel, a computer scientist at Pennsylvania State University, bitcoin is “the frontier of economics.”

What this means is: If a bitcoin, hypothetically, is just hoarded and never mixed back into the system, the bitcoin is safe. But once that bitcoin is spent or transferred, it opens up a Pandora’s box of forensic data.

Russia Looks To Crack Down On Bitcoin (Even More)

Russia really hates bitcoin.

Now, its lawmakers want to curtail any possible bitcoin activity by slapping a seven-year jail sentence on anyone who uses bitcoin for any sort of activity. But on the odd side? The Central Bank of Russia still has plans to review blockchain technology.

But, somehow, it still wants bitcoin activity to be illegal. At least, that’s what the draft proposal from the Russian Ministry of Finance is after in its new proposal. The lawmakers want to ensure that any currency in the country comes from the Central Bank of Russia.

Sounds about right for Russia. The country already has laws in place that indicate that being involved in the production, sale or distribution of any digital currency could land someone with one year of a correctional labor sentence. I guess that’s better than seven?

But, then again, the Ministry of Finance wants other stipulations attached to the laws, including a fine of up to 500,000 Ruble (~$7,100). And if the “criminal” can’t pay? They would have to give over their salary for a three-year period. Or go to prison for four years.

It’s safe to say that Russia won’t be getting bitcoin-friendly anytime soon.

Central Banks Eye Bitcoin-Like Digital Currency

While bitcoin was designed to be the libertarian-style currency — free from government rein — now, the chatter for central banks is how they could enable their own digital currency through a technology similar to bitcoin, in a manner that would be under the control of the central banks, like the Federal Reserve.

What this will be is a system known as RSCoin, which was designed by researchers at University College London and inspired by suggestions from the Bank of England. Of course, the U.K. has been far more interested in initiating projects using bitcoin and the blockchain than the U.S. This research started last year but, since then, has been discussed in a more serious manner.

Similar to bitcoin, RSCoin employs cryptography to form a digital currency. It also uses a process that involves verifying and recording transactions over a distributed ledger. But, unlike bitcoin, this ledger wouldn’t be controlled by a select number of users/computers (or have a limited number that’s causing the spat today in the bitcoin community). RSCoin’s ledger would be controlled by the central bank, leaving it in charge of the encryption key that controls the currency.

Certainly, bitcoin hasn’t gotten the approval of central banks across the board. But a digital currency controlled by the banks? That’s something they might be able to back.


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潘璠 | 未央团队未央编辑团队

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