TVP #184: ChainAnalysis Coercion & Quack Science: The Troubling Case of Roman Sterlingov with Tor Ekelend, Mike Hassard, & SW from Samourai Wallet

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:


  • 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:


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