Chicago, Illinois, August 8th, 2023, Chainwire
For years, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) have been the favored methods of payment for cybercriminals. Ransomware crime rings rely almost exclusively on Bitcoin payments to extract vast sums from major institutions, including hospitals and providers of critical infrastructure. But, in a groundbreaking move, a federal court case in Chicago has turned the tables on cybercriminals by using inventive technology to digitally lock the criminals out of their blockchain accounts.
The case was brought against Russian and North Korean hackers who are under sanctions by the United States Treasury Department.
Mike Kanovitz, CEO of Jurat Blockchains, the firm behind the technology deployed in the case, remarked, “It is encouraging to witness this invention in action, fighting criminals who misuse blockchains and give cryptocurrency a bad name.” Kanovitz explained that “Jurat technology provides the base layer for legal enforcement on blockchains by working in conjunction with official courts. It can help government officials prevent crime and lets cryptocurrency users access courts if they have had their cryptocurrency stolen, been defrauded, or lost their private keys.”
The court’s order applies to 16 individuals and international criminal organizations sanctioned under Executive Orders of the President of the United States. Among those targeted was Hydra Market, the focus of “a collaborative initiative joined by the U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigations, Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, and Homeland Security Investigations,” according to a U.S. Treasury Department press release. Another major target named in the lawsuit is the Lazarus Group, which engaged in “malicious cyber activities and money-laundering of stolen virtual currency” on behalf of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The state-sponsored hackers committed “the largest virtual currency heist to date, worth almost $620 million, from a blockchain project linked to the online game Axie Infinity.”
Using the first-of-its-kind judicial injunction, the federal court has locked all accounts belonging to the 16 criminals that contain the cryptocurrency $JTC. The coin emerged following an update to Bitcoin’s software, resulting in a “fork” that left two blockchains, BTC and JTC, hosting the same accounts. Victims who previously lost $BTC can claim their $JTC using the Jurat Wallet app or by filing an action to enforce their legal rights in court. Industry estimates of cryptocurrency crimes range above $20 billion annually.
The case was handled by Jon Loevy, of Loevy & Loevy Attorneys at Law in Chicago.
About Jurat Blockchains
Jurat Blockchains provides Web3 legal tech and reg tech for blockchains, smart contracts, and DAOs. It launched its first public blockchain, JTC, in 2022 and has additional layer 1 projects and dispute resolution system dApps in the pipeline. For further information about Jurat contact [email protected] or find us at www.jurat.io. To reach Loevy & Loevy call 312-243-5900.
Loevy & Loevy