OPINION: It has been five hundred and seventy-seven days since Donald Trump took office and the sheer avalanche of news has been more than the past two hundred and twenty-nine years of American presidency combined. The latest and ‘White-House shaking’ news of the conviction of both Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen is the rotten cherry on a very unbalanced cake. Tax fraud, embezzlement and paying off pornstars aside, there is another major player intrinsic to the happening of this controversy: Bitcoin.
Is this Watergate 2.0?
The American people have been clamoring for a change in the administrative system ever since that groundbreaking day way back on 8th November 2017. The recent shake-up does nothing to instill faith towards the government in the American people with the supposed ‘swamp’ that was supposed to be drained only getting more grotesque and slimy.
The controversy that some people are calling ‘Stupid Watergate’ reached a crescendo when Michael Cohen pleaded guilty in court and Paul Manafort was convicted for his fraudulent activities. Michael Cohen, Trump’s ex-lawyer revealed his wrongdoings on multiple counts of financial charges which state that he was in charge of wiring money to Stormy Daniels, a pornstar with whom Trump supposedly had an affair with.
Donald Trump’s ex-Campaign manager, Paul Manafort was found guilty of five counts of tax fraud, one count of hidden documents from the government and a double count of bank fraud. This trident of convictions threw open a bizarrely large window of allegations that connected Manafort to allegations in the past. Was he a pawn in the Russian hack where a group of 13 Russian hackers was convicted of using Bitcoin to sway the Presidential elections? Was Robert Mueller right all along?
Trump’s win and Bitcoin
Bitcoin was thrown into the limelight for the first time in a political spectrum when a list of indictments by Special Counsel Robert Mueller stated that Bitcoin was used to sway the 2016 US elections in favor of Donald Trump.
The report showed that almost $95,000 was laundered using Bitcoin, funds that were directed to conduct hacks on the Democrats’ online servers. The indictments released by prosecutors under the US Attorney General also shows that 12 members of the GRU, the intelligence wing of the Russian government used servers and Virtual Private Networks in Malaysia and the US to pull the wool over investigators.
How does this tie-up with Paul Manafort’s conviction?
He was one of the several people accused of being involved in the server hacks of the Democrats, not as a hacker of course but as one of the supervisors. Manafort had outrightly denied all links with any sort of Bitcoin attack which was followed by attacks on Mueller instead.
Robert Mueller will be the one having the last laugh right now as the conviction of Manafort in an Alexandria, Virginia, courthouse, gives a boost for his investigation against the President. The eight criminal charges on which Manafort is found guilty fall under the ambit of the 2016 elections and the idea that Bitcoin was directly used by an American national to change the tangent of a democratic election is nothing short of a utopian nightmare.
Bitcoin prides itself on being completely decentralized, an alien concept to almost all the banks present in society and probably one of the major reasons why it was used by Manafort and the GRU to puppeteer the elections. Decentralisation as a concept means that the transactions are secure and peer to peer, meaning there is no third party present that would raise a red flag alert on any nefarious transaction.
At a time when companies such as Silk Road, a drug-peddling service purely run on cryptocurrency was brought down by security forces, it is highly ironic that the very government that initiated such a ruling would partake in such shady activities. The majority of cases levied against both Manafort and Cohen are finance related and Bitcoin at its core is probably an “image” issue that could impact the booming cryptocurrency industry as a repercussion.
Rober Mueller’s probe into the POTUS has been taken to the next level and according to the man himself, he ‘will not stop until justice is served’. The ground under the feet of the 45th president of the United States is shrinking fast, and like Bitcoin, the people around the world are not going to stop talking about it.
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