California Judge Orders Accused Hacker to Pay Bail in Crypto

Irving Hamilton
August 19, 2018

Great news for anyone doing crimes with bitcoin.

A federal judge in San Francisco has ordered a cyber-criminal to pay their bail charges in Bitcoin, inadvertently stimulating cryptocurrency mainstream adoption. According to the California-based Daily Post, he appeared in United States federal court on Thursday and a judge agreed to allow his release to a halfway house.

While some enthusiasts have celebrated the Bitcoin bail order as another case of cryptocurrency mass adoption, there is a much more rational legal explanation for why cryptocurrencies can be accepted as bail payment.

USA assistant district attorney, Abraham Simmons, said that judges are afforded a broad spectrum of discretion when it comes to enforcing bail payments.

"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."
We have seen a charity set up a system in which people can mine cryptocurrency to help build a bail pool that's used for people in need.

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Prosecutors are treating the incident on Tuesday as terrorism, Scotland Yard said. He will appear in custody at Westminster Magistrates' Court on Monday 20 August.

Bitcoin's epic slide from its December high of nearly $20,000 (£15,700) has continued throughout 2018, and today one bitcoin has a value of $6,538 (£5,136), according to CoinMarketCap.

At the hearing, Magistrate Judge Corley said Marsich could be released to a halfway house on the condition that he hands over bail of cryptocurrency to the value of $750,000.

As Kotaku reported last week, Marsich is a 25-year-old Serbian and Italian citizen who is accused of hacking EA's servers. He allegedly gained access to copies of the game Federation Internationale de Football Association 2018, as well as to in-game currency packs, and then offered them for sale on black market sites.

As well as allegedly using stolen information to buy and sell in-game items, Marsich is also accused of selling access to the accounts on dark market websites, in total causing claimed losses of $324,000 to the company.

If convicted, Marsich could face a maximum sentence of five years jail time, a fine of $250,000 and financial responsibility for the hacking damage.

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