On the 4th December was published the article “How Difficult is to Hide a Black in Sheep in a White Flock?” At that date it was impossible to doubt that the occasion to continue the story will be presented in the closest future not just by faith, but generally by the bitcoin community activists. It is a pity to announce that the detective game initiated by users, who suffered from the affair or started to follow the culprit due to pure interest of a hunter, have underestimated the opponent or opponents. The basic principles of the crypto coin network were wrongly interpreted and pushed many people to draw false conclusions. Digital world does not seem that univocal as it was believed to be. The relativity of the human decisions and inferences already has many examples, when innocent people were judged and punished – morally, or even physically.
Allow me to make a small flashback – for those, who have not read the previous article and would like to get acquainted with the matter, and for those, have might have forgotten the chronicles. The canvas needs only some brushstrokes to make the flashback interesting and vivid.
At first, the page or online merchants’ platform SheepMarketplace was closed. The Tor browser has followed it, as it was an anonymous browser to ensure deals considering the selling or purchase of illegal matters. The victims of the termination of both resources were many users, who were not able to withdraw funds from the platform. Payments were received by the service, but money has not had left them to their real owners. The version stated by the administration assured the users that only 5400 BTC are missing due to a dealer, who has found a bug and used it to steal the sum.
The second step was made by the users – activists willing to play detective and to determine the criminals, even return to money. This Robin Hoods understood at once that the amount of missing coin exceeds the 5400 BTC and is much bigger. Even the estimation of users missing their funds gave a number several folds bigger. Uniting of activists allowed spotting a wallet holding the stolen bicoins. The amount made this affair close or even equal to the greatest and most daring bank robberies in history. The sum was 96000 BTC and after the exchange ratio could provide its owner with 100 million dollars.
The next step was merely the exploitation of technology and coin basics. The Block Chain presents the necessary features. Comparing the crypto coin system principles of privacy with real world fiat money transactions can be named several differences. The credit card and financial institution regulated transaction create a bridge between the sender and receiver of money. All the data, like name, surname, account and other are known and kept by the financial institutions and customers have nothing else left as to trust in confidentiality. Transactions performed with bitcoins do not require such a medium between. Two wallets, two users, peer-to-peer have to obtain the approval of other users of the network. The numbers or names of wallets are known – a line of numbers and letter, but the key that comes as a pair is the secret of the owner, his private data from real life is not included, is unnecessary.
It seems to be enough for a 100% security and privacy. Attention! There are two exceptions – exchanging the crypto coins to fiat coin and vice a versa is associated with a real personality; the movement of extraordinary amounts of money having no analogues to exist in parallel makes impossible to hide them. The second rule became the stumbling rock of the crime. The user sheeproadreloaded2 followed the sum and in the final published the overall route. He survived the mixer that was unable to perform as it should – not enough money was inside to recombine the money. The last point – the wallet was successfully determined.
Everything seemed to be brilliant, promising and positive, until… There was a “but”, very strong one. One other user recognized that his money has gone to this wallet. Further investigations allowed declaring that this wallet is a technical address for internal work of the stock or exchange service - BTC-e. Our flashback includes the most actions performed by the “detectives”. They, together with us, have landed in a dead-end. The path followed seemed to be correct – money is stolen, the platform closed. But the evidence shows that the criminal is gone, he was right – he exchanged the digital coins for fiat money. It is not the first huge transaction for the service. 190000 BTC were removed in November, either by the Winklevoss twins, or by the developer of bitcoin Satoshi Nakamoto.
As can be claimed the detective games of the masses often lead to mistakes and failures. Normally, it brings up questions on privacy and security. Such “investigators” have vandalized the wall of the Brown University student Sunil Tripathi, because they believed that he was behind the terroristic act in Boston this year. FBI has proven that he was innocent, but he was found dead a week after the incident at the marathon.
The user sheeproadreloaded2 has left the process of search and commented on his action in a fed up manner – he claims to be tired, out of milk, in necessity to return to his daily routine. He thinks that bitcoins are real, because he sells them. The thinks that the crypto currency is not just a matter to provide power, it might change the time and space continuum.
The crowd believes that they have size the moderator Tomáš Jirzikovský of the terminated platform that definitely knows where has gone the money. He was ready to give a small interview on this case (the questions and answers are translated from the Chez language and sometimes are shortened).
To Tomáš Jirzikovský were presented the clues collected by the bitcoin society activists and he has given comments on them.
1. Tomáš Jirzikovský owns a hosting for the domain sheepmarketplace.com on a virtual private server, where other domains under his control are located. Tomáš Jirzikovský: It is not a VPS server – it is a physical server. It belongs to DataCube in Slovakia. It has 17 of my projects. The server is rather old and is unable to place more of my projects.
2. One of these pages is closely connected to SMP, as it uses the same basic technology or, maybe, even the API interface. Tomáš Jirzikovský: I do not understand what is meant by the author, but maybe he supposes that I am able to use Nette and PHP.
3. The official reason to close the fan-page is not convincing. The page was created shortly after SMP. Tomáš Jirzikovský: I do not know precisely, when SMP was opened, I cannot comment this statement.
4. Tomáš Jirzikovský – the first, who started to promote SMP (01.02.2013.). He recommended SMP and BMR (similar platform) as an alternative to Silk Road (11.04.2013.) Tomáš Jirzikovský:I do not know what kind of advertisement is taken as an example by the author, it is hard to give an answer for me.
5. Tomáš Jirzikovský is the developer on C++, knows QT and Framework, uses Ubuntu, as well as the developer of the SMP.
Tomáš Jirzikovský: I have written several codes on C++, which are available on the network. It was a manager Apache MySql PHP project. I am ready to rpesent the unfinished codes. About Nette and my questions on forums – they are connected with work moments on mine, or customer projects.
6. Tomáš Jirzikovský was complaining about the memory usage for the bitcoind on VPS server and has discussed the difficulties of hidden services for such functions, as email.
Tomáš Jirzikovský: yes, some time ago I have tried to find a solution for these the difficulties. I was bothered about it in general, willing to know if it is possible to launch such kind of service. There were not many replies from jurists, but I have not had any opportunity to ask somewhere else.
7. Tomáš Jirzikovský and his girlfriend are active users of Tor browser, which can be seen on screenshots of their desktops.
Tomáš Jirzikovský (ironically): … The browser is required for operations with the bitcoin wallet, to prevent attacks from outside…
The next questions remained unanswered:
What is Tomáš Jirzikovský currently doing?
Did he work on a project having problems with deposits and accounts?
He has published a row of .htaccess files having same mistakes as the SMP files.
Previously he was accused of affairs with bitcoins.
The last citation from the interview with Tomáš Jirzikovský included similar reasoning as his previous answers, he was surprised that people draw conclusions for very doubtful facts, he receives threats. His fan page was removed when other users warned him that SMP is using their hosting. It was terminated because of the local laws as well.
I suppose that it would be wrong to put a full stop now. Still, the new owner of the fortune might be determined or any other circumstances might appear. Please stay in touch and continue reading our news.
Generally, the whole community hopes that the system of bitcoin will overpower the current problems as they might be the reason for loss of popularity. It would be a pity to kill such a great idea as bitcoin due to odd and illegal actions of single persons.