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Mumbai crypto king provided Bitcoins for buying drugs, govt asks crypto exchange to throw him out

 The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) has arrested a Mumbai resident for allegedly providing Bitcoins to drug peddlers for buying drugs.

HIGHLIGHTSNCB has arrested a man who was selling Bitcoins to peddlers.The peddlers would use the crypto to purchase drugs.The exchange was being done on the dark web.

The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) has arrested a Mumbai resident for allegedly providing Bitcoins to drug peddlers for buying drugs. Makarand P Adivirkar was referred to as the 'crypto king' by his peers. He was charging in cash for the Bitcoins that he provided to the peddlers. The crypto was later used by these peddlers to purchase drugs on the dark web. The arrest was made for the purchase of LSD and a psychotropic substance from a peddler in November 2020.

The case could be a wake up call amid growing demands for proper regulations for crypto exchange. In this case, Binance, a Cayman Islands-based cryptocurrency exchange, has frozen the account of Adivirkar at the behest of the NCB. According to a report by the Economic Times, the Competent Authority, Smugglers and Foreign Exchange Manipulators (Forfeiture of Property) Act (SAFEMA), Mumbai, has recently confirmed NCB’s plea to freeze the account held by Makarand P Adivirkar.

Further investigation in the case has revealed that Adivirkar received cash and facilitated the bitcoin deal at a small margin. His modus operandi here was to make profit by providing Bitcoins on marginal profits by using his wallet that was used to purchase drugs from the darknet. The probe also reveals that this is not the only act of this kind in recent times. There is a thriving ecosystem of using both the bitcoins and darknet in illicit sale of contrabands.

The Narcotics Control Bureau seized 20 LSD blots from a drug peddler in Kharodi village in Marve Road area of suburban Malad on November 20 last year. The drug peddler had bought them from Europe by using Bitcoins, probe revealed. NCB has been vocal about these activities in the past as well and may look at the latest case as a big win since it is the first time it has managed to block the account of the accused.

However, the case should also act as a wake up call for all the stakeholders. Since cryptocurrencies don't exist in physical form, they can be directly exchanged between two parties without the need for intermediaries. This makes it very difficult for anyone to trace the transactions. Also, the lack of guidelines or regulations provide the fraudsters with a window to induldge in such activities.


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