A Judge Just Approved the IRS Request to Seek Coinbase’s User Records

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The IRS can serve bitcoin and ether exchange startup Coinbase with a summons for information about its users, a federal judge has ordered.

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Hyperledger Project Hits 100 Members With Addtion of China’s SinoLending, Gingkoo, ZhongChao

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Hyperledger Project, an open source blockchain initiative hosted by the Linux Foundation, has hit a major milestone of 100 active members. Several new members from China have joined the project, including Dianrong (formerly SinoLending), Shanghai Gingkoo Financial Technology and ZhongChao Credit Card Industry Development Company.

“As a fintech company, Dianrong has always been at the forefront of applying emerging technologies to finance,” Peng Bi, Vice President of Engineering, said in a statement. “While our core business is connecting lenders and borrowers on our peer-to-peer lending platform, blockchain inherently applies to our business model since it can enable anonymous transactions between two unknown parties, solving the trust issue.”

Dianrong is a leading internet financial services company in China, specializing in alternative financing solutions. The company was founded in 2012 by Soul Htite, Co-Founder and former Head of Technology at Lending Club. Dianrong now ranks among the top three peer-to-peer lending platforms in China, according to a report by Wdzj.com and Yingcan Consulting.

Htite has hinted numerous times at his company’s interest in blockchain technology,stating earlier this month that Dianrong has been developing blockchain applications for use in online lending. He said that that the company has committed to invest between U.S. $30-40 million in development over the next two years.

According to Bi, alongside peer-to-peer lending, Dianrong is “also investigating other blockchain applications, such as consumer finance, borrower credit and contract certification.”

As for Ginkgoo, the company is looking “to explore how to serve banks with distributed ledger technology in China,” said Bruce Zeng, Manager, Gingkoo Blockchain Department. “We have developed our own Starfish [blockchain] and established partnerships with many blockchain companies worldwide.”

Bitcoin Magazine reached out to Zeng for further details on the company’s Starfish blockchain, but didn’t receive a response.

For the ZhongChao organization, joining Hyperledger allows the company to further advance currency digitalization. “We believe it is the next evolution of financial technology,” said Yifeng Zhang, President, Zhongchao Smart Card Research Institute. “We will cooperate with the central bank and financial institutions for further development of the industry.”

As of November 29, the Chamber of Digital Commerce has also entered into a strategic partnership with Hyperledger. This will leverage both the Chamber’s public policy knowhow and Hyperledger’s technology expertise to further promote the understanding, acceptance and use of digital assets and blockchain-based technologies. The Chamber and Hyperledger will work in tandem on public policy efforts, intellectual property issues, and global regulatory and technical interoperability.

“A pro-growth perspective towards regulation and industry standards are some of the biggest challenges the open source community faces,” said Perianne Boring, Founder and President of the Chamber of Digital Commerce. “We are excited to work with the technical experts and open source community at the Hyperledger Project to further support our efforts on behalf of the blockchain industry.”

Other members that have recently joined Hyperledger include, Beijing Botuzongheng Science & Technology Co. Ltd., an Altoros Americas LLC.

Launched in December 2015, Hyperledger Project is a collaborative cross-industry effort aimed at advancing blockchain technology by creating an open standard for “a new generation of transactional applications.”

The initiative is supported by prominent players in the technology, finance, banking, Internet of Things, supply chain and manufacturing industries. These include SWIFT, Deutsche Bӧrse Group, DTCC, IBM, R3 and Thomson Reuters, among others.

“The growth and support across the globe is a testament to the need for an open source initiative, like Hyperledger, that accelerates the development of blockchain software and systems to reinvent industries,” said Brian Behlendorf, Executive Director at Hyperledger.

Among Hyperledger’s membership, 41 percent comes from the U.S., followed by China with 25 percent, Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) with 20 percent, and Asia-Pacific with 14 percent.

This year, several open source blockchain and distributed ledger projects moved into incubation under Hyperledger — including Hyperledger Fabric, Sawtooth Lake, Blockchain Explorer and Iroha.

In October, Hyperledger launched the Hyperledger Healthcare Working Group to foster conversations and proposals for applications of blockchain technology in the healthcare industry.

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Pharmacy Student Arrested In Vienna For Selling Narcotics on the Dark Web

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A 19-year-old German was arrested in Vienna for selling narcotics on the dark web. Police information says the pharmacy student was a dark net vendor who sold LSD, magic mushrooms, cannabis seeds, codeine and other prescription drugs originating from Germany, Spain, and Russia to his customers.

Austrian law enforcement authorities arrested the student on November 8. Officials say he operated by the “Hedon” pseudo name on dark net markets. The vendor was in business from April 2015 and made about 1,800 sales. Investigators claim that he completed almost all orders. During the home search, police seized two travel bags and two bags full of narcotics. The 19-year-old is currently held in detention.

Earlier this month, another dark net vendor was arrested in Steyr, Austria. A narcotics task force was watching him from Spring 2016. The seller was not even suspected of distributing drugs on the dark web, however, he attracted police attention after one of his drug mules was intercepted at the Austrian-German border with a narcotics package. The vendor purchased wholesale quantities from illegal substances, which were mailed to him or delivered in person. He sold the drugs he bought on dark web markets. When law enforcement authorities opened the arrested driver’s package at the border, they found a significant quantity of narcotics pointing that the recipient was a drug dealer.

However, the seized package was not enough for police to raid the 45-year-old’s apartment so they had to work harder to gather more evidence. Authorities flagged the man’s address and seized several parcels coming mostly from the Netherlands and Germany. All packages contained wholesale amounts of drugs. Since law enforcement authorities wanted a full case against the suspect, they did not intercept all parcels, just some. Seizing all packages coming to the vendor would raise suspicion in him, which could make the case even longer for authorities.

After a while, police intercepted a package, which revealed both the seller’s and the 45-year-old’s dark net usernames. Law enforcement authorities checked the Steyr man’s account on the dark web, which showed that he was vending on several marketplaces. His main products included amphetamines, ecstasy, mushrooms and crystal meth.

Austrian police not only intercepted the incoming packages of the vendor, but they seized some of the mail that was sent out to the 45-year-old’s customers. A parcel provided information to police about the seller’s “style and stealth”. When authorities gathered enough evidence, they conducted a raid on the man’s apartment where they found convincing evidence. Police seized several computers and handwritten data on the vendor’s customers and sales. A forensic examination of the computer data showed that the vendor had more than 350 customers and recorded a total of 400+ sales.

“Seventy to eighty percent of the buyers are domestic,” said one of the investigators. The suspect made “several thousand euros per month,” another investigator wrote.

The suspect is currently held in detention in Garsten. According to a source, he could face a 15-year prison sentence if convicted.

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