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A Further Crackdown On Bitcoin Mixing Services Will Hurt Human Rights Activists


The US Department of Justice, yesterday, Accused Keonne Rodriguez and William Lonergan Hill, co-founders of Samourai Wallet, a privacy-focused bitcoin wallet that also acts as a mixer, with money laundering and running an unlicensed money transfer business.

Many, including activists and human rights defenders, spoke out about the importance of this legal action soon after the news broke.

Lyudmila Kozlovska, President Open Dialogue Foundationwhich educates policymakers and regulators about how bitcoin mixing services are tools for pro-democracy activists living under authoritarian regimes and need to maintain their anonymity, expressed concerns about a broader international effort to ban privacy-preserving tools related to bitcoin.

“Given this event and the regulatory language in the G7 countries, incl AMLR was passed by the European Parliament today“We can already see the beginning of this process of criminalizing private payment instruments,” Kozlovska told Bitcoin Magazine.

“Crimes can be committed using any technology, but this is no reason to criminalize or ban by definition a particular payment instrument, especially its developers,” she added.

“Since law enforcement agencies were able to identify the crime of money laundering using this particular wallet, it means that they have all the means to detect such crimes and there is no need to criminalize this technology and its developers.”

Kozlovksa went on to explain how most major money laundering schemes occur through traditional financial routes and exist in the form of expensive real estate deals or payments for consultations with high-ranking former government officials.

Anna Czechovich, CFO Anti-Corruption Foundation And lead non-profit Bitcoin adoption in Human Rights Foundationalso relies on Bitcoin mixers and is concerned that the authorities are not taking into account human rights activists who need to use this technology for their safety.

“As an activist, I don't like the trend that they are trying to control tools like blenders that give us privacy, because they are essential for those fighting against dictatorships – activists, human rights defenders, freedom fighters,” Čikovic said. He told Bitcoin Magazine.

“At the Anti-Corruption Foundation, we use mixers because we need to protect (the identity of) our donors. We are responsible for the safety of donors because we encourage them to support us financially, and by supporting us, they risk imprisonment for up to eight years. “We have a great responsibility to do everything we can to not let this happen,” she added.

“We also need mixers to protect (the identity of) the beneficiaries of our funds.”

However, both Kozlovska and Czechovich appeal to those running other Bitcoin mixers not to invite bad actors to use their services in the same way the Samourai Wallet founders did.

In the following tweet, which was cited in the charges against Rodriguez and Hill, Samurai openly encouraged Russian oligarchs to use Samurai's mixing service to circumvent sanctions.

“This is completely childish,” Kozlowska told Bitcoin Magazine. “Such rhetoric certainly gives more reason to attack both developers and private payment instruments.”

Chekhovich echoed and reinforced Kozlovska's point of view.

“I absolutely neither support nor tolerate those who encourage Russian oligarchs to use Bitcoin or any Bitcoin-related tools such as mixers,” Czechovich told Bitcoin Magazine. “It was wrong to say such things, and it was not only bad for the platform holders, but also bad for the Bitcoin community in general.”

The post A Further Crackdown On Bitcoin Mixing Services Will Hurt Human Rights Activists first appeared on Investorempires.com.



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