On this episode of The Vonu Podcast, we return to the topic of privacy, bitcoin, & ChainAnalysis coercion, and go deep into the deeply troubling legal case of Roman Sterlingov.
Roman was an early bitcoin adopter, who started using a DeepWeb mixer, Bitcoin Fog. Without a shred of evidence and via a shoddy investigation, ChainAnalysis & the State are accusing him of being the FOUNDER, and as such, has been locked up for a couple years already, facing 50+ years in prison.
Joining me, are his lawyers, Tor Ekelend & Mike Hassard, as well as SW from Samourai Wallet — Tor has been doing work on digital privacy/freedom for over a decade, and this is the most absurd case he’s seen yet…
And may just have the most far-reaching consequences.
SW also fills us in on how the Samourai Wallet team is helping with their open source ChainAnalysis tool, OXT.ME.
Please consider donating to Roman’s fund here: https://www.torekeland.com/roman-sterlingov/
- Roman’s case is the EXACT reason why Samourai acquired OXT.ME: to take it out of the hands of ChainAnalysis, and to provide counter-analysis that is reproducible and verifiable
- Mike fills us on in their travels to bitcoin, privacy, and freedom conferences across Europe
- Tor introduces the case: wildest and most absurd in a decade of digital privacy/freedom cases; Roman is absolutely innocent, but has been locked up for 2 years awaiting trial anyway
- Roman’s background/history; how he accumulated a lot of bitcoin early on, and became a millionaire overnight; introduced to a bitcoin mixer at a meetup, starts using Bitcoin Fog
- The astonishing lack of evidence of Roman being the founder; ChainAnalysis black box
- Mike comments on how little evidence the State is providing them during discovery (i.e. bitcoin addresses, software, code, etc.), making their job extremely difficult
- The “Russian connection” — thanks to the nonsense political climate
- Mt. Gox background/history; that data is critical to the State’s case against Roman, but is unusable and unreliable on its face
- Mark Karpeles found guilty in Japan for falsifying Mt. Gox data — no jail time
- Karpeles: founder of Bitcoin Fog? Never served any time, now works for U.S. government (Department of Justice); more evidence of that than Roman
- The far-reaching ramifications of ChainAnalysis and State cooperation; demonstration of public-private coercion (fascism)
- SW: there’s no evidence other than ChainAnalysis black box reporting — full of mistakes that the Samourai team found — more quack science!
- Despite putting Roman under surveillance (physical, digital, etc.), and seizing multiple computers, cellphones, Raspberry Pi’s, private journals, etc. at the airport arrest, there’s not ONE shred of evidence
- SW, Tor, and Mike explain why we self-liberators/freedom pioneers MUST 100% fight against ChainAnalysis; there’s no fucking choice, especially not working with them
- Andy Greenburg of WIRED’s last book includes Roman’s case — he went up on stage with the arresting agent at a conference in D.C.; Andy never checked with Tor or anyone, just silence
- SW: what is the strategy? Undermine analysis, undermine the facts surrounding the case, profiteering, etc.?
- Tor: we’re going to tell the truth, how Roman made his money, got his bitcoin early on, and how he became a millionaire overnight — yet didn’t make near enough to have run Bitcoin Fog
- SW provides a runthrough on OXT.ME; all ChainAnalysis is probabilistic, NOT deterministic, and CANNOT be used as evidence in court
- STOWAWAY, a Samourai Wallet privacy feature, fooled OXT, which is the core evidence in this case
- Tor is actually a privacy/hacker lawyer O.G. of SW’s past — represented Weeb a decade ago
- Please consider donating to Roman’s fund here: https://www.torekeland.com/roman-sterlingov/