‘They didn’t see it coming:’ Podcaster Joe Rogan sees Bitcoin as a viable form of currency

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Joe Rogan noted that Bitcoin is like the “early internet,” and the “government is freaking out” about BTC in conversation with the MMA fighter Khalil Rountree.

Popular podcaster Joe Rogan just gets Bitcoin (BTC). In his most recent podcast with Khalil Rountree, a renowned mixed martial (MMA) fighter, Rogan explained that BTC is something that the “government didn’t see coming.”

“I think of Bitcoin the same way I think of the early internet. They [the government] didn’t see it coming and now it’s a viable form of currency–you can actually buy things with it.”

Rogan explained that there will be a time when “some government” will implement a “centralized currency that they can control,” with the intention to “limit what you spend your money on.” Bitcoin is outside of government control, as it is a decentralized and permissionless payment network. 

Rogan is a vocal Bitcoin supporter, having first spoken about the world’s largest cryptocurrency in 2014. Rogan explained to Andreas Antonopoulos in 2016 that he was “all in” on team Bitcoin when the price was under $1,000.

While 2021 was the year that popular celebrities clamored for crypto, Joe Rogan’s conviction for Bitcoin ossified and evolved.

Rogan has ventured deeper down the Bitcoin rabbit hole: In only January this year, Rogan had hope for Bitcoin but explained it could still “fall apart.” In yesterday’s MMA podcast, Rogan’s conviction shined. 

The Joe Rogan Experience is Spotify’s most popular show, reportedly reaching over 11 million listeners per episode. Anthony Pompliano claims that he show is bigger than Fox News and CNN combined. 

His MMA podcast is part of the “experience,” and Khalil Rountree has been a previous guest. In the YouTube excerpt with focuses on Bitcoin, Khalil Rountree shares his “Bitcoin awakening,” discussing how his family never had “generational wealth” before BTC.

Rountree is an American mixed martial artist who currently competes in the light heavyweight division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. While admitting he’s not a tech or finance guy, he is “excited” about the technology, and attended Bitcoin Miami 2022.

Rountree cited the North Korean defector china Yeonmi Park, a speaker at Bitcoin Miami 2022 who escaped the regime thanks to Bitcoin and its freedom properties.

YouTube comments on the episode are hopeful that Jack Mallers, the CEO of Strike, will be featured soon, or failing that, another Bitcoin-maxi, Jack Dorsey, the former CEO of Twitter.

Related: Crypto Stories: Ethan Lou shares experience of crypto conference in North Korea

For one Bitcoiner on Twitter, Michael Saylor appearing on the JRE would create the same hype as a spot exchange-traded fund (ETF):

The “Bitcoin awakening” video has already been viewed over 100,00 times, while Joe Rogan is still at the top of the Spotify United States podcast charts

Two more charged with teaching North Koreans to evade US sanctions with crypto

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Two EU citizens have been indicted for violating U.S. sanctions on North Korea when they jointly planned a crypto conference there.

Two European citizens have been charged by a United States district court in connection to a blockchain and cryptocurrency conference in North Korea which violated U.S. sanctions back in 2019. 

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the court documents allege that Alejandro Cao De Benos, a citizen of Spain, and Christopher Emms, a citizen of the United Kingdom conspired to violate U.S. sanctions on North Korea when they jointly planned and organized the 2019 Pyongyang Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Conference.

The pair allegedly worked with former Ethereum developer Virgil Griffith to provide instruction on how the DPRK could use blockchain and cryptocurrency technology to launder money and evade sanctions. Later, the three continued to provide additional cryptocurrency and blockchain services to the sanctioned nation by seeking to help them build cryptocurrency infrastructure and equipment.

Griffith is well known in the cryptocurrency space for his extensive work on the Ethereum cryptocurrency platform during its early years. He was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in November 2019 for his connection to the conference, and pleaded guilty in September last year for violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA)

On April 12, he was sentenced to 63 months in prison and slapped with a $100,000 fine.

The indictment also alleges that Cao De Benos and Emms recruited Griffith to speak at the DPRK conference and arranged his travel to the DPRK in 2019 for this purpose. It also alleges that Cao De Benos coordinated with the DPRK government for Griffith’s participation to the conference.

The pair have been charged with one count of conspiring to violate U.S. sanctions in violation to the IEEPA, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years prison.

In an accompanying statement published by the U.S. Department of Justice, the FBI issued a stark warning to any persons or companies thinking of circumventing U.S. sanctions against a foreign government.

Acting Assistant Director Bradley S. Benavides of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division said:

Those contemplating evading U.S. sanctions against a foreign government should know the FBI and its partners will aggressively investigate these cases.

The indictment comes at an interesting time, after the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) recently announced it will be targeting entities and individuals involved in attempts to evade sanctions imposed by the United States and its international partners on Russia.

Related: US Treasury Dept lists crypto mining firm in latest sanctions against Russia

Last week, the U.S. Treasury Department announced it had named a Russia-based crypto mining services provider BitRiver AG and several subsidiaries as firms facilitating the evasion of sanctions.

“The United States is committed to ensuring that no asset, no matter how complex, becomes a mechanism for the Putin regime to offset the impact of sanctions.”

On Friday, OFAC announced it had sanctioned three Ethereum addresses allegedly linked the North Korean linked theft of more than $600 million in crypto from nonfungible token game Axie Infinity’s Ronin sidechain in March.