Every week, there are more opportunities available for customers to spend their Bitcoins in exchange for various goods and services. Not all of those goods and services are considered legal, highlighted during the case brought against Benjamin James Cance, a weapons dealer who enjoyed the pseudonymous benefits of Bitcoin transactions.
The Curious Case Of Benjamin James Cance
Even though Bitcoin has been associated with less-than-legal marketplaces and services in the past, it has been a while since stories like these made media headlines. Enthusiasts of virtual currency are slowly starting to realize that Bitcoin is far from anonymous, making it a less preferable type of payment for illegal goods and services.
Mainstream media outlets will gladly tell you a different story though, as they are far less educated on the matter and prefer click bait articles rather than proper journalism. Granted, Benjamin James Cance is an arms dealer, and yes, he preferred Bitcoin payments. But that doesn’t make Bitcoin intended for criminals and black market deals, as every transaction can be tracked and analysed through the blockchain.
What makes the case of Benjamin James Cance of relevance to virtual currency enthusiasts is the fact he accepted Bitcoin payments for some shady weapons deals. Additionally, the man is charged with shipping illegal gun components, engaging in money laundering and illegal possession of an unregistered machinegun. Guns and weapons are the real crime, not a virtual currency like Bitcoin, as it never facilitated money laundering.
To make matters worse for Benjamin James Cance, he used the Darknet – not to be confused with Deep Web – to conduct illegal weapons deals with overseas customers. To hide the nature of his activities, Mr. Cance preferred electronic payments such as Bitcoin, which can be traced back to the original owner if government officials want to pursue that option.
Another Indication Of Poor Bitcoin Education
Benjamin James Cance was, just like most mainstream media outlets, poorly educated on the topic of Bitcoin. Despite the virtual currency allowing people to use a pseudonym (a Bitcoin wallet address) rather than personal details, transactions are publicly visible for the entire world. Incoming and outgoing transactions can be traced to their end station and point of origin within mere minutes. Unlike cash transactions, as bills have no name, address or an identifier tied to it that can be traced unless it is within confines of a central bank.
There is only one true type of anonymous payment method in existence today, and that is cash. Tracking cash transactions is next to impossible and it can change hands without having the slightest shred of information about the other person in the transaction. Money laundering cash is not difficult, as it can be used to purchase just about anything in the world, or as in the case of Mr. Cance, a house.
Sitting on a pile of Bitcoins, regardless of where they are coming from, will put a target on your back sooner or later. Bitcoin is pseudonymous, but it still has to be exchanged to fiat currency to buy most things, including houses. Once a person starts living outside of what their residual income allows, the IRS and other government officials will grow a healthy interest in where the money is coming from. Bitcoin is not the answer to money laundering or tax evasion by any means, as it will result in getting caught much faster compared to dealing with cash transfers.
Images courtesy of The Justice Department, Slideshare