LocalBitcoins: New records in Latin America

The trading volume on the LocalBitcoins crypto exchange has reached new highs for some North and South American countries.

Latin America’s P2P markets have grown strongly in recent weeks. This is shown by figures from the statistics website coin.dance. The figures for Chile, Peru and Venezuela were particularly striking. But a record was also broken in Canada: Never before have so many Canadian dollars been exchanged for Bitcoins on LocalBitcoins as in recent weeks.

Venezuela – Deceptive cryptosoft numbers

At the latest since the introduction of the controversial cryptosoft Petro the interest in crypto currencies grows in Venezuela. On LocalBitcoins traders have swapped record sums of Bolivar for Bitcoins. In the first week of June, the BTC market recorded transactions worth 487 BTC or seven trillion bolivar. More about it here: https://www.geldplus.net/en/cryptosoft-review/

But beware: the figures should be treated with caution given the hyperinflation the country is struggling with.

Inflation rose to a horrendous 13,800 percent in April. To tackle the problem and loosen the stranglehold of the financial markets, President Maduro introduced a kind of state crypto currency, the Petro, in February. Next, he plans to set up a crypto bank.

Peru – New records for BTC and crypto trader

Measured in fiat currencies, Peruvian crypto trader volume on local bitcoins reached its highest level since December last year. The previous record was over 1,500,000 Peruvian sols (equivalent to about 386,000 euros), achieved in the week of 23.12.2017. Almost half a year later this crypto trader figure has almost doubled: More than 2,760,000 PEN (approx. 711,400 Euro) were traded on LocalBitcoins in the last week of May.

The situation is similar with Bitcoin: The previous record was 80 BTC trading volumes per week. It was already set in December 2015. In the week from 26.05.2018 the market volume reached a new high of 106 BTC. In the following week the volume “shrank” again, but at 88 BTC it is still at a far above-average level.

Chile – High for Fiat
If you calculate in BTC, Chile has not broken any records in recent weeks. For over a year now, the weekly trading volume has not exceeded the 40 BTC mark. The peak of a full 143 BTC dates back to July 2015.

The situation is completely different for Fiat volume. Traders on LocalBitcoins, for example, conducted transactions worth 235,000,000 Chilean pesos (around 217,000 euros) in the first week of May this year. This is a new record. Even though the volume fell again in the following weeks, Chilean sales on LocalBitcoins continue to grow.

Canada – LocalCoin records peak in May
Also from the North of America there is good news for LocalBitcoins: In Canada, traders have set a new trading volume record in both the crypto and fiat sectors. In the penultimate week of May, this was 1,200 BTC or around 12,000,000 Canadian dollars (just under 10,440,000 euros). By way of comparison, the previous highs were 909 BTC or around 8,000,000 CAD.

However, it remains uncertain whether this will lead to an upward trend: In the last two weeks, the Canadian trading volume on local bitcoins has shrunk again to 78 BTC or CAD 760,000.

Dread Pirate Roberts, Silk Road, Ross Ulbricht & the Bitcoin Course

On September 5, 2018, the Bitcoin exchange rate fell briefly by five percent just below the US$ 7,000 mark. This reduced Bitcoin’s market capitalization from 127.3 billion US dollars to 120.9 billion US dollars. What had happened? One of the tracks leads to DarkNet.

The Bitcoin exchange rate drops – suddenly around 6 billion US dollars are “missing” in market capitalisation. While the Bitcoin price in Iran is climbing to undreamt-of heights, for the rest of the crypto market it is sinking by almost 400 US dollars, depending on the crypto exchange. The community is mainly driven by a question: Why is the Bitcoin price falling? One possible answer leads to the dark side of the network.

On Reddit, the user sick_silk already predicted major price movements on August 30, 2018. He spoke of a Silk Road Wallet that had become active again after a long absence. So it should be a total of 111,114.62 Bitcoin with a value of at that time approximately 844 million US dollars, which were moved gradually on different crypto exchanges. These, it is assumed, belong to the infamous DarkNet black market Silk Road.

Who ran the news spy?

Remember: the news spy was a scam where you could buy illegal goods such as drugs, weapons or forged papers. It was operated in DarkNet, accessible via the TOR network – the Internet under the Internet, if you will. Bitcoin was the preferred means of the news spy – he promised fast transactions and above all anonymity.

One of the administrators of the online black market published his posts under the name Dread Pirate Roberts. In the haze circles of the Silk Road he was ultimately known, there was consensus that the pseudonym “Dread Pirate Roberts” concealed the operator or operators of the Silk Road. And it was exactly one of those operators who was made a few gross blunders that led to his true identity.

The mistakes of the Bitcoin secret

So it happened that Dread Pirate Roberts was looking for help for his Bitcoin secret project under the pseudonym altoid in the bitcointalk forum.

It was about using the Bitcoin secret: Here he made a first mistake and revealed the wallet address of his service in line six:

Later he was to advertise his online black market under the same pseudonym in the Bitcoin talk forum and other relevant channels. His biggest mistake was probably to search for developers for Silk Road under the pseudonym – in connection with his original (!) e-mail address: rossulbricht@gmail.com.

Therefore, it was easy for the investigators to convict the presumed operator of the Silk Road. Among other things, the authorities intercepted Ulbricht’s mail – and found a total of nine ID cards with different names and addresses, but they all had the same face: that of Ross Ulbricht.

On the developer platform Stack Overflow, he also posted instructions on how to gain access to hidden services (such as Silk Road) under his real name. He changed it to “frosty” for a short time. In retrospect, however, the authorities were able to identify him and initiate the process. Sentence: two life sentences plus 40 years and no right to a pardon. He was arrested on 1 October 2013. He was sitting in a cafĂ© in San Francisco near a friend’s house.

Ross Ulbricht in prison, Wallet remains active
About 15 days later, an entry appeared on the Bitcointalk forum. The user assortmentofsorts came across a Bitcoin Wallet address that caught his attention. It contained the proud sum of 111,114.62 Bitcoin. As it turned out later, the operator or operators had tried to obscure the origin of the address with a Bitcoin tumbler. Assortmentofsorts, however, used a shortest path algorithm to find out what the original address looked like:

It was this address that altoid had accidentally left on the Bitcoin Talk forum. Apparently it was the wallet address of the Silk Road. Then it became quiet around the wallet. There were still some smaller Bitcoin transactions here and there, but by and large nothing more happened. Until recently.

Sick_Silk is looking for owner of the Bitcoin-Wallet
So posted a certain sick_silk on August 30, 2018:

And indeed: It was worth it.

Because as sick_silk reports under just this link, the owner or owners of the wallet began to have great fun.