The shutter encapsulating the world of cryptocurrencies has yet to fail to disappoint us. We may have seen all kinds of private transactions carried out in digital assets and a few government officials involved here and there to trade, as well. But no court, has ever been reported to be involved in a cryptocurrency payment for bail without having it converted first. This has just changed.
The Department of Justice of the United States of America announced on August 9, that a man who stood accused of illegally accessing the secure network of a well-known gaming company was arrested in San Fransico National Airport following a track down mission on the alleged hacker boarding a flight to Serbia, on August 8.
The company was revealed by Daily Post to be Electronic Arts (EA), who are a worldwide giant in the repertoire of electronic gaming and are responsible for well known games like FIFA, Battlefield and Star Wars Battlefront, while also managing assets in excess of $8.5 billion.
In the aftermath of the arrest by police officials last week, Federal Judge Jacqueline Corley has ordered the alleged hacker Martin Marsich, charged with illegally accessing computer networks of EA, to pay bail in cryptocurrency.
Marsich, a 25-year-old Serbian and Italian, whose residence was reported to be Udine, Italy, was ordered to pay the amount for bail in digital worth $750,000 after he made an appearance in court the day following his arrest.
The DOJ said:
Magistrate Judge Corley ordered Marsich released to a half-way house on the condition that he post the equivalent of $750,000 in cryptocurrency for bail.
Magistrate Corley ordered Marsich to pay the bail amount in crypto, which could be Bitcoin or Altcoins or any other cryptocurrency, as the defendant see fit. While it may seem like an unusual decision, US judges can apparently set bail terms on their own jurisdiction, however they may seem fit.
Corley has recently been in crypto news for not so crypto favorable reasons, as well. In November, she ruled in favor of US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) against Coinbase. She ordered the crypto exchange to turn over all kinds of digital transactional data the US taxpayers conducted from 2013 to 2015.
The FBI filed an affidavit in regards to the criminal complaint against Marsich, on March 25.
The affidavit read out in court suggested that the Bay area company, EA found that their system had been hacked and they lost access to 25,000 accounts that Marsich gained access to, illegally. The aim of this hack was alleged to allow costumers to purchase items to use in video games using in-game currency and further selling in-game items. He was also accused of “selling access to the online game on black-market websites”.
According to the gaming company, the losses sustained from the compromising of its accounts and stolen video game items amount to be approximate at $324,000.
The DOJ further revealed:
The complaint charges Marsich with intentionally accessing a protected computer without authorization to obtain information for the purposes of commercial advantage and private financial gain…and accessing a protected computer to defraud and obtain anything of value.
It has also been revealed that Marsich is due to appear in court again on Monday next week to confirm posting of the cryptocurrency amount to the court and to set further dates in the case proceedings.
If found guilty, Marsich is set to face a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a hefty fine of $250,000, plus restitution, if appropriate, for each violation.
US Assistant Dirstrict Attorney, Abraham Simmons revealed that he doubted that it was the first time that a judge had allowed a bail in cryptocurrency. Judges, according to him, can validate all kinds of bails, including real estate and other property owned by the person. He said:
It really is quite broad, the judge could order just about anything. What the objective is is to get the defendant to comply with an order to appear later.
While in contrast, San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe believed that he “had never heard of anyone bailing out of jail with cryptocurrency in any courtroom.”
He was buoyed by this apparently, suggesting that crypto payments could now become a thing among the local courts of San Mateo.
It’s a new world. I love the new world,
While the DOJ’s announcement states no particular reason for bail payment in crypto, it is certainly felt as a cause of concern if the value of the cryptocurrency in question were to fluctuate dramatically.
On that subject, Simmons told that he was “certain” that either party could file a motion to change the bail amount, so it would make no real difference.
He also told:
The idea is to get him to court, not necessarily to maintain the value of any particular asset, I would imagine that either side would alert the court of an extreme change in the value of the asset, but it doesn’t mean that the court would care one way or the other.
Marsich apparently has a huge bill on cryptocurrency, which enables him to potentially fill for whatever seems to have gone wrong with the alleged cyber-robbery. But this incident is not the highest profile case of crypto bails being accepted by court.
As reported by Motherboard, the Bronx Freedom Fund is an initiative to let people dedicate CPU power to mine for bail money and is specially allocated for people who cannot afford it via remote mining. This is an outlet which enables people to avoid getting imprisoned while awaiting trial via the digital donations. Although, Marsich’s case is the first instance to pay the court in cryptocurrency directly, without having it first converted to fiat.