An Oregon man who once begged the government to arrest him for giving Bitcoin to Edward Snowden has gotten his wish.
Well, more or less.
Kristopher Ives, 31, was arraigned Thursday in Portland, on a 21-count indictment charging him with computer fraud, attempted extortion and possession of stolen credit card data. There’s no mention in his indictment of Snowden or Bitcoin, despite Ives’ daring the feds to lock him up in connection with the two.
Ives is a coder, free market anarchist, and Bitcoin enthusiast who drew national attention in April 2015 with his protest of then-president Barack Obama’s executive order for targeted sanctions against overseas cyber attackers. The order lets the government seize the funds of anyone perpetrating or supporting a foreign-based cyber attack on the U.S., where the attack threatens America’s national or economic security.
At the time, Ives read the broadly-worded directive as forbidding any financial support to Snowden, who was then entering his third year of exile in Russia. Ives’ protested by sending the whistleblower 33 cents worth of Bitcoin and calling out it out on Twitter and Reddit.
“It’s not much but it’s the principle of the matter. Please come arrest me,” he wrote in a Reddit post that included his Google Voice number. “I live in Oregon and my name is Kristopher Ives.”
The protest earned some news coverage and spawned a spike in sympathetic protest donations to Snowden’s support fund. Nobody was arrested.
But prosecutors now say that Ives moved to a genuine crime one month later.
The newly-unsealed indictment is short on detail, but claims that in May 2015 Ives attempted to blackmail the unnamed victim of a hack attack, threatening damage and to “impair the confidentiality of information” stolen in the breach. He allegedly demanded money “and other things of value” if he wasn’t paid.
Additional, Ives was allegedly found in possession of 17 stolen credit card numbers and account holder names one year after the extortion attempt, in May 2016. Each card is an additional count in the indictment.
Prosecutor Scott Bradford declined to comment on the charges. Through his attorney, Ives also declined to comment on the case, which is set for a five-day trial on May 1st.