Cybercrime Joker retires, becoming a Bitcoin Billionaire

They say crime doesn’t pay. It is clear that they did not meet the Joker …

The stolen payment card market is no longer the most popular on the dark web. The criminal behind the Joker’s Stash site, which trades in stolen credit card and account data, has announced that the servers and backups will be deleted, and the site will never reopen. That criminal, who strangely goes by the pseudonym ‘JokerStash’ or Joker for short, has closed the shop and is going to retire. Retirement very comfortably, assuming Interpol and the FBI don’t catch up with them, as a Bitcoin billionaire.

Joker’s Stash was the largest carding site on the dark web. Carding is the process of not only selling that stolen card data, but also allowing criminals to launch their illegal cryptocurrency sums. The stolen card data is used to buy gift cards or other easily traded items and then sell them for cash. In 2019, I reported on how a single payment card database, of over one million new market cards in total, was being offered for sale at $ 130 million (£ 93 million.)

In a dark web post in January posting, the Joker warned customers about the prestigious card site that it would close out a store for good on Feb. 15. However, according to blockchain analysts Elliptic financial crime compliance, the site went down on February 3rd.

As you might expect, this will not have pleased those customers who thought they had an extra 12 days to balance money. While it was not possible to determine how much money these cyber criminals might lose, the reverse is not true: Elliptic analysts have estimated the size of the Joker’s retirement pot based on payments incoming crypto to Joker’s Stash wallet.

How much pension has Joker built up through this criminal enterprise since he started working in 2014? Elliptic said that in 2018 alone, $ 139 million (£ 100 million) in sales went through Joker’s Stash, for example. Recently, revenues have fallen sharply as payment card fraud detection technology has advanced. However, more than $ 400 million (£ 288 million) ran through the site between 2015 and 2021.

Joker’s Stash made its money by raising investment fees to convert Bitcoin to dollar balance and also by taking a commission on all trades in stolen cards. While that commission rate cannot be cut down in detail, Elliptic analysts established the calculation to an average of 20% as seen at other carding operations.

“If we accept an average total commission of 20% on sales,” Elliptic wrote, “then considering bitcoin alone they would have taken at least 60,000 bitcoins.”

Alternatively, to put it another way, it is currently around $ 2.1 billion (£ 1.5 billion).

Which leaves the statement gone from the Joker with so much irony turned up to eleven. After telling cyber-gangsters not to “lose themselves in pursuit of money,” the Joker went on to say that “all the money in the world will never make you happy and that the “most valuable things in this free life. ”

That’s easy to say when you’re a Bitcoin billionaire, no matter how you came up with the cryptocurrency. The pandemic may have played a role in the site closure decision and in the expression of emotion. In October 2020, Joker revealed to customers that he or she had been in the hospital for a week after Covid-19 was contracted.

Anyway, Joker’s Stash is no more and that’s a good thing for most law-abiding people. Unfortunately, the dark world way of the web is that another carding site will soon rise to take over as a crypto kingpin of this illegal trade. While this particular type of cyber has declined in terms of profitability over the past two years, there is still, sadly, enough money to be made. Probably not as much as Stash the Joker, but more than enough to mock the old saying that crime doesn’t pay. Especially as it would seem, based on conventional information at least, that the site was not bustled by law enforcement but closed its own will. Apparently the last laugh would be with the Joker.

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