CoinDesk, Helix CEO Larry Dean Harmon (Larry Dean Harmon) today pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to launder money ReportAfter the US Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) accused him of helping criminals launder hundreds of millions of dollars through a process called Bitcoin mixing.
Financial Center Say In October 2020, Harmon “conducted more than 1,225,000 transactions for customers through Helix between 2014 and 2017, and was associated with a virtual currency wallet address that sent or received more than $311 million”. But he never registered Helix or his other company, Coin Ninja, as a money service business.
Helix also “advertises its services in the darkest space on the Internet as a way for customers to anonymously pay for drugs, guns, and child pornography”, according to FinCEN also stated that Harmon “has conducted transactions with drug smugglers, counterfeiters and fraudsters, and other criminals.”
All these factors led Harmon to become the first person in the United States to be accused of providing Bitcoin hybrid services. But what exactly is Bitcoin Hybrid? It is essentially a cooperative effort to make Bitcoin more private by combining a bunch of people’s funds into a transaction and then evenly distributing it among all participants.
“Basically, if one hundred users all send exactly 0.1 BTC to a new address they control, and then combine these 100 transactions into one big transaction, everyone will get 0.1 Bitcoin, but no one knows where they got it from ,” Bitcoin Magazine explain, Adding that these mixers “can be designed in such a way that even the entity that “merges” the transaction cannot figure out which coins went where.”
Not every Bitcoin owner who uses a coin mixer—maybe not even most—wants to launder money. Some people may just want to increase the privacy of transactions based on their own principles, rather than evading the actual wishes of law enforcement agencies, financial regulators, and other agencies.
But it is undeniable that the Bitcoin mixer, like the Antinalysis blockchain analysis service on the dark web, can indeed Call for cybercriminalsThe question now is, now that the case against Harmon has set a precedent, will FinCEN and other financial regulators target more Bitcoin hybrid service providers?
As for Harmon: FinCEN fined him US$60 million in October 2020. He pleaded guilty to charges that could serve up to 20 years in federal prison. According to CoinDesk, his lawyer said he would also be subject to “a huge and lengthy confiscation agreement.”