Midshipmen at US Naval Academy Under Investigation for Dark Web Drug Trafficking

Reports estimate that between 10 to as much as two dozen midshipmen based at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD, near Washington, D.C., were part of an elaborate scheme to supply their peers with illicit drugs including cocaine, LSD, and ketamine. As reported by Fox News, the criminal ring used Bitcoin to purchase the drugs on the dark web.

Sources from within the academy (who spoke on the condition of anonymity) told Fox News that as many as two-dozen midshipmen are under investigation. The investigation is still unfolding, so as of yet, no formal or pending charges have been brought against the accused.

Naval Academy spokesman David Mckinney was quoted as saying that the “command-assisted investigation” was opened after the Naval Academy and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) received “a midshipman report of alleged recreational drug use within the Brigade.”

“The results of the investigation are still pending. We are continuing to work with NCIS on these reported allegations. The Navy has a zero tolerance for drug abuse and takes all allegations of misconduct very seriously,” Mckinney said.

Despite not releasing their names, two of the accused are prior enlisted midshipmen who had spent time in the fleet before gaining appointment to the Naval Academy, which educates and trains officers for the Navy and the Marine Corps. One of the midshipmen tested positive on a drug test in early January after returning from Christmas break.

Between 2010 and 2011, according to the Annapolis Capital, “NCIS conducted an 11-month investigation into the use of synthetic marijuana, or spice, by midshipmen. That investigation ended the careers of at least 27 midshipmen.” Further, naval officials have confirmed from 2010 through 2017, seven midshipmen were expelled for drugs.

Dark Web

This news comes at a time when governments around the world are pointing an accusatory finger at cryptocurrencies for their alleged role in online drug marketplaces and money laundering operations, despite the fact that recent studies have shown that money laundering cases associated with cryptocurrencies account for less than one percent of the total.

The dark web is a part of the World Wide Web that is only accessible by means of special software called a Tor browser. This permits users and website operators to remain anonymous and untraceable, making it a fitting environment for a sort of online, open-air drug market.

The Silk Road, one of the most infamous sites on the dark web, was the first of these modern darknet markets, used as a platform for selling illegal drugs and weapons. In October 2013, the FBI shut down the website and arrested Ross William Ulbricht on charges of being the site’s pseudonymous founder “Dread Pirate Roberts.”


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Cryptocurrencies are an intriguing financial tool for many different reasons. While the primary focus is on speculation, StormX shows things can be done differently. Travel enthusiasts can now fly in first class by using their native cryptocurrency.

Cryptocurrency Opens New Doors

It is safe to say the future looks interesting for cryptocurrencies. If StormX is to be believed, the travel industry will be prone to disruption by this new form of money. More specifically anyone looking to fly first class can now do so through the native Storm cryptocurrency. This new service has come to market in collaboration with I Only Fly First Class. This particular travel concierge service provider will be a prominent partner for StormX moving forward.

Users who have the Storm Play app can earn this new cryptocurrency accordingly. It can also be purchased from small exchanges. So far, none of the major trading platforms have opened a market for this new coin as of yet. That situation may change thanks to this positive development. STORM tokens will offer users discounted flights to destinations around the world. The only requirement is purchasing the flight through the I Only Fly First Class website. StormX CEO Simon Yu added:

“Making first class flights available in cryptocurrency to savvy consumers, tech enthusiasts, adventurers, and bargain hunters is a momentous leap forward in merging the worlds of travel and crypto. Perhaps most exciting is that StormX’s alliance with I Only Fly First Class means that traveling in style — once a luxury afforded by few — is now at the fingertips of everyday people. By watching advertisements or reviewing products, for example, anyone anywhere in the world can be rewarded in STORM Tokens and then use them to travel the world first class at more affordable fares.”

The Future Plans for StormX

With this new offering, STORM holders can save thousands of dollars on first class flights. It is something of great interest to travelers and regular consumers alike. With most of the major airlines supported on this platform, there are plenty of locations to choose from. Finding these luxury deals and being able to pay with cryptocurrency can make a very big difference. It may also bring more positive attention to cryptocurrency as a whole. This is a prominent use case for this new form of money.

More specifically, it is one of the first mainstream use cases for cryptocurrency in the travel industry. That may seem surprising, but cryptocurrencies have not made much of an impact in most industries just yet. With STORM paving the way, it will be interesting to see if other currencies can thrive as well. Bridging the gap between cryptocurrency and mainstream users will not be easy, though. Especially not if the currency involved is as relatively unknown as the one created by StormX.

So far, it seems the Storm Play app has over 1.5 million downloads. That alone is rather impressive for such a niche market. Advertisements and features related to I Only Fly First Class will be integrated into this application. This new partnership will also help move the Storm project along in the future. With the Storm Market to be launched soon, it will be interesting to see which other features we can expect. For travel fans, this news is pretty significant. Whether or not it will become a popular solution to book first class flights, remains to be seen.

Bitcoin Pizza Day is an unofficial holiday among cryptocurrency enthusiasts. It marks the birthday of the moment on which Laszlo Hanyecz paid 10,000 BTC for two large pizzas. It seems Hanyecz is still keeping a close eye on Bitcoin as of right now. He recently used the Lightning Network to buy two pizzas with Bitcoin at more normal prices.

Laszlo Hanyecz is a Cult Figure

It is safe to say Bitcoin would not be this popular without Laszlo Hanyecz. This man is responsible for creating the first commercial Bitcoin transaction. In May of 2010, he spent 10,000 Bitcoin to buy two pizzas. Considering how Bitcoin had no real value at that time, it became evident this was a rather big milestone for the cryptocurrency. Ever since that time, the Bitcoin ecosystem has grown by leaps and bounds.

Every year, Bitcoin enthusiasts celebrate Bitcoin Pizza Day. This is done to celebrate the Laszlo Hanyecz Bitcoin payment. It is quite a fun event, as it involves eating pizza paid for in Bitcoin. With popular services such as Takeaway.com accepting Bitcoin, ordering a pizza has become a lot easier. This too can be credited to Laszlo Hanyecz in an indirect manner. Bitcoin certainly has come a long way ever since May of 2010.

Over the past few years, the value of Bitcoin has soared. As time progressed, these two pizzas have become rather expensive. The money spent by Laszlo Hanyecz would be worth nearly $10 million at current prices. Few people expected things to evolve in such a direction so quickly. However, there is no time to dwell on the past too much. Now is the time to look to the future of Bitcoin, especially when it comes to using it as a payment method.

The Lightning Network is Important

Conducting Bitcoin transactions has become a lot more expensive over the years. Fees are rather low now, but they went as high as $20 not all that long ago. A scaling solution is direly needed in this regard. The Lightning Network seemingly offers a lot of feasible solutions in this regard. For now, we have to wait and see if this scaling solution can live up to people’s expectations, though.

Surprisingly, Laszlo Hanyecz has tried this technology himself. Most people expected him to be done with Bitcoin in recent years. Even so, Hanyecz purchased two pizzas with Bitcoin. By using the Lightning Network, he didn’t have to pay 10,000 BTC to do so. Instead, the payment was completed virtually instantly. It is worth mentioning the shop he ordered from does not accept Bitcoin payments natively, However, a one-off deal was agreed upon without too many problems.

This trial further highlights the potential of Bitcoin’s Lightning Network. While it’s still a bit of a complex solution, the new Core client makes it easier to use. That doesn’t mean everyone will follow the lead of Laszlo Hanyecz, though. There is still a lot of work to be done before LN will go mainstream.  It is good to see people actively experiment with this concept as of right now, though. With this solution in place, Bitcoin will enter a new era altogether.

Key Points

  • Bitcoin price declined this past week and moved below the $10,000 level against the US Dollar.
  • There was a break below a major bullish trend line with support at $10,350 on the 4-hours chart of the BTC/USD pair (data feed from SimpleFX).
  • The pair must stay above the $9,300 and $9,000 support levels to avoid further declines in the near term.

Bitcoin price is under pressure below the $10,000 level against the US Dollar. BTC/USD remains at a risk of more declines if the pair fails to hold the $9,000 support.

Bitcoin Price Resistance

This past week, there was an increase in bearish pressure on bitcoin price from the $10,800 swing high against the US Dollar. The price started a downside move and traded below the $10,500 support level. There was also a break below the 23.6% Fib retracement level of the last wave from the $8,250 low to $11,650 high. Moreover, there was a break below a major bullish trend line with support at $10,350 on the 4-hours chart of the BTC/USD pair.

The pair traded towards the $9,400 support and declined below the 100 simple moving average (4-hours). More importantly, there was a break below the 50% Fib retracement level of the last wave from the $8,250 low to $11,650 high. It has opened the doors for more losses below $10,000. On the downside, the $9,350 support is holding losses and is preventing declines. Should there be a break below $9,350, the price may even decline below the $9,000 level. An intermediate support is near the 76.4% Fib retracement level of the last wave from the $8,250 low to $11,650 high.

Bitcoin Price Weekly Analysis BTC USD

On the upside, a break above the $10,000 resistance is needed for the price to move back in the bullish zone.

Looking at the technical indicators:              

4-hours MACD – The MACD for BTC/USD is currently in the bearish zone.

4-hours RSI (Relative Strength Index) – The RSI is currently well below the 50 level.

Major Support Level – $9,350

Major Resistance Level – $10,000

 

Charts courtesy – SimpleFX

Key Highlights

  • ETH price declined recently and moved below the $860 support level against the US Dollar.
  • There is an expanding triangle forming with resistance at $870 on the 4-hours chart of ETH/USD (data feed via SimpleFX).
  • The pair may continue to decline as long as it is below the $870 resistance level.

Ethereum price is struggling to move higher against the US Dollar and Bitcoin. ETH/USD could extend the current decline and it could even break $800.

Ethereum Price Decline

There was a major downside move in ETH price from well above $1,000 against the US Dollar. The price declined and moved below the $950 and $900 levels. It traded below the 23.6% Fib retracement level of the last wave from the $553 low to $970 high. Moreover, there was also a break below the $860 support and the 100 simple moving average (4-hours). It tested the $770 support level and is currently correcting higher.

There was a test of the 50% Fib retracement level of the last wave from the $553 low to $970 high. However, the price is struggling to recover above the $870 level and the 100 SMA. There is also an expanding triangle forming with resistance at $870 on the 4-hours chart of ETH/USD. The pair may continue to decline in the short term as long as it is below the $870 level. On the downside, once there is a break below the $760 support, there can be more declines in the near term.

Ethereum Price Weekly Analysis ETH USD

It looks like the price may consolidate in the short term around the $800 level before making the next move. The risk is towards the downside unless the pair succeeds in breaking the $870 resistance. A break above $870 could push the price above the $920 level.

4-hours MACD – The MACD is slowly reducing its bearish slope.

4-hours RSI – The RSI is moving higher towards the 50 level.

Major Support Level – $760

Major Resistance Level – $870

 

Charts courtesy – SimpleFX

Key Points

  • Bitcoin cash price started a fresh decline this past week and moved below $1,250 against the US Dollar.
  • There is a major bearish trend line forming with resistance at $1,310 on the 4-hours chart of the BCH/USD pair (data feed from SimpleFX).
  • The pair may continue to decline and it could even break the $1,100 support in the near term.

Bitcoin cash price is struggling to recover against the US Dollar. BCH/USD remains at a risk of more declines below the $1,100 level during the next few days.

Bitcoin Cash Price Resistance

There was a fresh downside wave initiated in bitcoin cash price from the $1,610 swing high against the US Dollar. The price declined and moved below the $1,500 and $1,300 support level. The decline was such that the price even broke the $1,250 support level. It is currently trading below the $1,200 level and the 100 simple moving average (4-hours), which is a bearish sign.

The recent low was $1,118 with resistance on the upside around the 23.6% Fib retracement level of the last decline from the $1,617 high to $1,118 low. There is also a major bearish trend line forming with resistance at $1,310 on the 4-hours chart of the BCH/USD pair. The trend line resistance is important since it is near the 38.2% Fib retracement level of the last decline from the $1,617 high to $1,118 low. Moreover, the 100 simple moving average (4-hours) is positioned near the $1,320 level. Therefore, the $1,310-1,320 area is a major hurdle for a recovery in the near term.

Bitcoin Cash Price Weekly Analysis BCH USD

On the downside, the pair remains at a risk of more declines once there is a close below the $1,100 level.

Looking at the technical indicators:

4-hours MACD – The MACD for BCH/USD is placed nicely in the bearish zone.

4-hours RSI (Relative Strength Index) – The RSI for BTC/USD is currently well below the 50 level.

Major Support Level – $1,100

Major Resistance Level – $1,310

 

Charts courtesy – SimpleFX