General Question

elbanditoroso's avatar

Should the US 'stealing back' the $2.3 million from Russian hackers be considered a good thing?

Asked by elbanditoroso (30460points) June 7th, 2021
28 responses
“Great Question” (1points)

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On the one hand, Colonial Pipeline is happy to get some of their money back, I’m sure. And crime should not pay.

However, this appears to make all of the Bitcoin claims (secure, confidential, safe from government), pretty much a big lie.

Is this governmental action a wake-up call for the Bitcoin fanboys?

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Answers

kritiper's avatar

Yes. Anyone else may think twice before trying it again.

stanleybmanly's avatar

The hackers will simply revert to cash.

mazingerz88's avatar

Stealing back from dangerous deplorable criminals imo is a good thing. Since catching and jailing them seems next to impossible.

flutherother's avatar

It seems to me that this was an act of desperation by the US Justice Department. “Stealing back” money sounds a bit dodgy and not what you’d expect of the government.

jca2's avatar

They were not deserving of the money in the first place. If law enforcement took back or interceded money paid for a ransom of a kidnapping of a child, we wouldn’t consider it “stealing.”

janbb's avatar

I would say it was “recovering” rather than stealing back and good for the US government. And if it discredits some of bitcoin’s claims, even better.

zenvelo's avatar

Bitcoin is a scam. The Bitcoin fanboys can get all butt-hurt over the government’s recovery, but they don’t really have much to complain about.

crazyguy's avatar

I do not think there is anything wrong with what was done. I would be very interested in finding out more about how exactly it was done.

Pandora's avatar

@flutherother It’s not stealing if you are taking back what was never theirs, to begin with.

@elbanditoroso
I always thought that bitcoin is a scammy way to get money. Recently I had people telling me to invest in Bitcoin. There were a lot of family members who were ready to hop on board. Especially after a cousin said their friend has been doing this for years and has made a ton of money. It was everywhere in social media and then it tanked and tanked big. I told all my family, its a scam don’t do it. I don’t know who did and who didn’t do it but I was right.
The easiest way to think about bitcoin is this. It was started to keep governments out and hide money. This means it was started for purpose of using such money for illegal reasons.

So if the government can do something about it and start to shut down these billion-dollar scams, I’m all for it. Because in the end, the bill trickles down to everyday consumers so these conmen and continue to do harm and live large.

I hope the go after all illegal bitcoin money.

crazyguy's avatar

@Pandora Like most stock market investments, and probably hard assets like art and real estate, bitcoin is hard to appraise. Therefore, its value depends essentially on willing buyers buying from willing sellers. The aspect of hiding money is important for some people; but I think most investors view it as gold. Limited supply. Unlike the US dollar.

flutherother's avatar

@Pandora Recovering ransom money is not a crime but I wouldn’t support the Justice Department if they hacked into Bitcoin to recover the money. Two wrongs don’t make a right especially if the Justice Department is involved.

crazyguy's avatar

@flutherother I would like to know just how secure Bitcoin is. Other than that I do not think bitcoin should provide a necessary means for ransomware.

In other words, I am concerned that the feds could break into bitcoin, but I am also glad they were. However, I would hope their request was approved by a Judge, and it would be approved on the basis of very few national security issues.

zenvelo's avatar

@flutherother ”... if they hacked into Bitcoin…”

It isn’t like Bitcoin is some private entity, or even a business. Bitcoin is little more than a digital ledger that no one owns. Since the blockchain is all about transparency, figuring out who has the BTC paid for the ransom should not be that challenging.

crazyguy's avatar

@zenvelo In a way what you are implying is worrisome; in other ways it is reassuring. I always thought bitcoin transactions were hard to decipher, not because I was looking for ways to hide money, but because I thought that was the reason for bitcoin’s popularity.

Are you saying that bitcoin transactions can be not that challenging to figure out?

flutherother's avatar

@zenvelo If the Feds did break into Bitcoin it raises questions about the security of the currency and its value is going to fall. It sets a precedent and a lot of Bitcoin investors may lose money which hardly seems fair to them.

zenvelo's avatar

@flutherother Bitcoin isn’t a real investment. It is a Ponzi scheme.

janbb's avatar

@flutherother They lose money every time Elon Musk sneezes. It is not a sound investment.

Lightlyseared's avatar

They didn’t steal the bitcoin back – they transferred it out of the hackers account using the hackers credentials. Saying bitcoin isn’t secure is like saying your bank isnt secure because some who can prove they are you can get your money.

The interesting question is where they got the credentials from and how.

flutherother's avatar

I know enough about Bitcoin not to get involved but I’d like the DOJ to assure us they did nothing fraudulent in getting the ransom money back. The DOJ’s job is to uphold the law after all.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Somehow they not only figured out the transactions, but also devised a way to pull the coins to the US government’s own account. That isn’t just looking something up in a ledger – it’s grabbing ownership of the value.

I don’t care if the russians lost money. What bothers me is that the US government can, if they desire, break into anyone’s bitcoin account and clean it out.

That pretty much puts the lie to the concept of a secure place to store funds.

Lightlyseared's avatar

@elbanditoroso I don’t think your statement that the US government ‘broke into’ someone’s Bitcoin account is correct. It looks like the US government had the password of the account and that they got it from a legitimate owner. The current theory is the justice department (or some related TLA) provided Colonial pipelines the bitcoins to pay the ransom specifically to verify the legitimacy of their source.

crazyguy's avatar

@zenvelo Bitcoin isn’t a real investment. It is a Ponzi scheme. Is TSLA a real investment? Was AMZN a real investment about 10 years ago? Is GM a real investment with a P/E of about 6?

zenvelo's avatar

@crazyguy Yes, TSLA, AMZN, and GM are real investments. So is CLOV. But buy some bitcoin and what do you own? Bupkis.

crazyguy's avatar

@zenvelo Since TSLA does not pay dividends and its price is unfathomably high, I am not sure how that is any different than bitcoin. In either case you are depending on the greater fool theory in order to turn a profit.

janbb's avatar

@crazyguy I’m curious as to why you’re so invested in TSLA then, in both senses of the word?

elbanditoroso's avatar

I think one difference about TSLA is that they actually manufacture something solid – cars and trucks – that have extrinsic value to the market they sell in. (A car costs $40K)

Bitcoin has no extrinsic value. it is worth whatever a bunch of people colluding in the market think it is worth, and has no connection to product, service, sales, quality, or anything else.

SnipSnip's avatar

Of course it was a good thing! The transmission of illegally coerced payment was stopped.

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