COLORADO SPRINGS — A court case right here in Colorado dealing with alleged theft and the complexity of cryptocurrency is getting global attention.
Investigators say a man working on his home computer in Aurora was able to take advantage of a software bug that wasn’t detected by “ICON” a cryptocurrency company, then using it to acquire millions of dollars in cryptocurrency.
He’s now facing felony charges.
This case is set to unfold in a Colorado courtroom starting next week and has the attention of people passionate about cryptocurrency in our community.
”You know. I still think crypto is in its infancy. It’s been around for a lot of years, but we still haven’t figured out really what we want to do with it,” said Bob Cook, an experienced cryptocurrency user and cybersecurity instructor at University of Colorado Colorado Springs.
Cook says he first started dealing in cryptocurrency in the early 2000’s. It didn’t have nearly the value it does today. If only he had known to hang on to it. Instead, he spent it on a pizza.
“My wife still teases me about my multi-million dollar pizza purchase,” said Cook.
Cook is one of the many cryptocurrency enthusiasts in southern Colorado who will be following the major court case in our state.
According to the grand jury indictment out of Arapahoe County, Mark Shin faces multiple felony charges for cybercrime, theft of more than a million dollars and money laundering.
FBI investigators say a software vulnerability allowed Shin to perform unauthorized minting of unlimited amounts of “ICX” cryptocurrency on his home computer, that cryptocurrency worth millions of dollars.
Local experts say the outcome of this case could still be a toss up and could provide case law for how cryptocurrency and digital property rights cases are handled in the future.
”Are those coins now his property and ICON didn’t have the right to freeze them when they discovered that he minted those coins, or were they ICON’s coins even though they weren’t minted? So, it’s a very interesting angle on this case because it’s certainly going to be precedent setting in terms of property ownership of a digital asset,” said Cook.
When it comes to cryptocurrency and who actually controls it, there are a lot of unanswered questions expected to come up in court.
”We haven’t established that the exchange who created the coin initially, do they ultimately control that coin? The philosophy of Bitcoin and other cryptos is no. It’s distributed and everybody who has their token owns their token and they can do whatever they want with it,” said Cook.
But if the court ultimately rules against that philosophy, it could have major ramifications for the future of cryptocurrency transactions and if they can be regulated.
”If this precedent comes out that well no, in-fact the exchange has ultimate ownership and determines it. There’s a lot that can come from that,” said Cook. “Not only will that be a little eye opening to people who own crypto coins, but also will governments then sweep in and say great then we can regulate the exchange and the creators of the coin.”
The court proceedings for this case are set to begin next week in Arapahoe County. We’ll keep an eye on the case and will let you know what it will mean for the future of cryptocurrency and consumers once the court hands down a decision.
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