Bitcoin Forum

Other => Meta => Topic started by: xtraelv on June 26, 2018, 10:46:17 AM

Title: knightmb on bitcointalk - from 371,067.36 BTC to Mitt Romney extortion.
Post by: xtraelv on June 26, 2018, 10:46:17 AM
I started this in a thread initially based on  this ( interesting post by qwk. I had no intention of it getting this big until I realized how interesting this is and justifies a thread that I can easily add information to.
My original post is here. (

Sometimes Crypto drama is so crazy - you couldn't make it up.
knightmb account looks like it got sold or hacked some time in 2016 / 17
Went from only English posts suddenly to only Turkish.;u=345;u=345;sa=showPosts

Prior to this knightmb was active in the bitcoin community and knightmb was number 7 richest bitcoin holder.
At one stage owned 371,067.36 BTC
(Which is 3x more than Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss own combined)

One of his bitcoin addresses: 1JpLBb3S9PEdft2SsB3ZT6YnwwNWqupYTJ

May 28, 2012, Re: List of Major Bitcoin Heists, Thefts, Hacks, Scams, and Losses
Quote from: dree12 link=topic=83794.msg926392#msg926392
I was debating whether to add that one (it was knightmb's "purchase" of 300000 BTC). However, the business partner did receive what he was looking for, which was $5000.

He later went on to develop timekoin. was created by knightmb (

Timekoin is the first non-experimental application of an open encrypted electronic  currency system on a public network.

The first concepts of digital currency date back to the late 1980s before the Internet was know as The Internet. Computer enthusiast would communicate with each other via modem dial-up bulletin boards and exchange files and messages. During those times, phone bills were high so online time was limited each day by system operators. Users would trade around "time" as currency in exchange for files or services.

This "time" could be added to another users account so that they may use more "online" time on the bulletin board computer. Because this started to become it's own culture of digital currency of trading time, many bulletin board operators began limiting users ability to trade "time" and eventually lead to business models of giving limited free time and charging users to use more time pass the free time point. Because of the limited nature and expense of running a bulletin board system, the electronic currency concept at the time was given an early death.

30 Years later, things have changed greatly. The Internet now allows anyone in the world with a computer to communicate. This vast open public network gives back the ability to resurrect the concepts of digital currency run by the public. Without any central authority to try to monetize the system and the vast amounts of computer power available to any person, the doors of the public digital currency once again swing open.

See its whitepaper:

Here are his own words as to what happened to his bitcoin holdings:

Well, here goes a long spiel.

Probably the last that anyone had heard from me before a few days ago was dated September, 2011 according to my profile stats. So it has been a long time of me just lurking around from time to time.

I can't remember exactly when, but some story broke on the Internet about my bitcoin collection and shortly afterwards things got crazy.

The first thing that happened was my inbox here at the forum exploded with people asking for a loan of anywhere from 10k to 100k bitcoins to start the next big market place. I had a few people message me here that they had been burned by a hacker or some website that had their wallet information and asked for anywhere from 100 to 1k bitcoins as a way to help them recover their loss. I always wanted to help people, but there is no well to tell if these were sincere request or just someone out to make a quick bitcoin scam. Some of those I did help people I did help just to be nice, but word must have gotten around quick.

I had to step back from the forums for a while as it was a good place for people to chase me down. All the questions of what I would do with it or how did I get it, was I the one that hacked XYZ website and that's why I have so many, etc. Somewhere in this topic I think, is a another long explanation of how I came into possession of it all. Long story short, I was in bitcoin early when the network was small and basically used a lot of Amazon processing power to load up a ton of bitcoin miners all at once in their clusters (Amazon) using a custom compiled version of the CentOS bitcoind source files. Amazon had a big price difference between running a lot of windows sessions and running a lot of Linux sessions. Turns out, the Linux sessions were running kind of an old version of CentOS as well as I couldn't even get the compiled binaries to run.

Well, a lot of money was spent to generate that chunk of bitcoins, but not so I could posses it all, there were plans to use it as a backing for re-loadable credit cards like service that had bitcoin powering it in the background. Needless to say, that project fell out due to (at least in hindsight) very inept investors. The project floundered and then finally as a way to get out, they (investors) wanted to see what they could sell everything for. It had cost a lot of real money to produce that pile of bitcoins, so I ended up buying it for dirt cheap (at least in terms that bitcoins really had no value to them). Maybe after the 7 year NDS I signed expires, the world will know who it was, but for now I can't name anyone or business.

Once the market value was shooting up to space, the pile of bitcoins was worth a small fortune in theory at least.

A lot of bitcoins were spread around the community to help people at first, but it kind of got out of hand.
Ultimately, a large portion ended up being donated to, so I'm certainly not the person sitting up top a large pile of bitcoins anymore. The rest went to paying off small debts and the very last of it was just recently donated to again. I never had any intention of trying to crash the bitcoin market with a large sell-off as many theorized I would do. So sleep safe that there is one less person like me in the bitcoin kingdom.  ;D

So, no matter what legend has built up, nothing amazing or exciting has happened to the bitcoins I once had. No buying a Country or purchasing Islands of the sort. Just trying to help out where I could instead. The only thing I have left is old screenshots and empty wallet files now.

A large portion of my past time has actually been invested in the creation of an alternate digital currency for the last few years because I always thought there was a better way to do it. So that's where I spend all my time now, at (

I was great to catch up with everyone though, hopefully the story wasn't too boring. Maybe not as exciting as some had hoped. was created by knightmb (

This is where it gets interesting:

On Nov. 19, 2009, the Secret Service raided his house. Brown was under investigation after someone allegedly stole encrypted information on 1,000 customers from a Farm Bureau website.

Brown maintained his innocence and ultimately no charges were ever brought.

The September 14, 2012 raid:

The Secret Service has raided the house of a Tennessee man it believes tried to extort Gov. Mitt Romney and his tax accounting firm just weeks before the election.

The man, Michael Brown, is declaring his innocence and is asking for donations to pay for his legal defense.

The early September extortion attempt had negligible impact on the election, but did provide some drama for political media. The perpetrator reportedly promised not to release Romney’s personal income tax filings in exchange for $1 million in “Bitcoin” online currency.

Michael Brown was asked:
Q: Are you still involved in BitCoin?
A: Years ago I was, but not today. I am actually involved in a completely different project over at and have been for years.

A Tennessee man was sentenced to 48 months in prison Monday after being found guilty of charges related to a 2012 scheme centered around former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s tax returns.

Michael Mancil Brown, 37, was convicted in May on six counts of wire fraud and six counts of using facilities of interstate commerce to commit extortion in connection with the headline grabbing stunt that preceded the 2012 presidential election.

In addition to spending the next two years behind bars, U.S. District Judge Billy Roy Wilson ordered Mr. Brown to pay $201,836 in restitution to PricewaterhouseCoopers.

These are the "Stop Release" / "Promote Full Release" addresses from the infamous pastebin:

Bitcoin Address to Stop Release:

Bitcoin Address to Promote Full Release:

Search warrant and evidence list:

Oh - since I don't think this was ever posted... here's the alleged ransom letter (these were on pastebin and picked up by some news sources, so either PWC or MB posted them - or they're fake ;)):

Dear PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
Using your Office @ 830 Crescent Centre Drive, Suite 260, Franklin, TN 37067  Telephone: [1] (615) 503-2860 we were able to gain access to your network file servers and copy over the tax documents for one Willard M Romney and Ann D Romney. We are sure that once you figure out where the security breach was, some people will probably get fired but that is not our concern.
All major news media outlets are going to be sent an encrypted copy of the most recent tax years that your company had on file since you did not have them all in a convenient electronic form. The years before 2010 will be of great interest to many. If the parties interested do not want the encrypted key released to the public to unlock these documents on September 28 of this year then payment will be necessary.
The deal is quite simple. Convert $1,000,000 USD to Bitcoins (Google if if you need a lesson on what Bitcoin is) using the various markets available out in the world for buying. Transfer the Bitcoins gathered to the Bitcoin address listed below. It does not matter if small amounts or one large amount is transferred, as long as the final value of the Bitcoins is equal to $1,000,000 USD at the time when it is finished. The keys to unlock the data will be purged and what ever is inside the documents will remain a secret forever.
Failure to do this before September 28, the entire world will be allowed to view the documents with a publicly released key to unlock everything.
Bitcoin Address to Stop Release:
And the same time, the other interested parties will be allowed to compete with you. For those that DO want the documents released will have an different address to send to. If $1,000,000 USD is sent to this account below first; then the encryption keys will be made available to the world right away. So this is an equal opportunity for the documents to remain locked away forever or to be exposed before the September 28 deadline.
Who-ever is the winner does not matter to us.
Bitcoin Address to Promote Full Release:
Reference to avoid Fakes that only you will have.
1.all these considerations did not deter me from the path of duty
2.[t]he moment I understood the will of my Heavenly Father

Here's another:
PWC Office @ 830 Crescent Centre Drive, Suite 260, Franklin, TN 37067
Telephone: [1] (615) 503-2860
Romney's 1040 tax returns were taken from the PWC office 8/25/2012 by gaining access to the third floor via a gentleman working on the 3rd floor of the building. Once on the 3rd floor, the team moved down the stairs to the 2nd floor and setup shop in an empty office room. During the night, suite 260 was entered, and all available 1040 tax forms for Romney were copied. A package was sent to the PWC on suite 260 with a flash drive containing a copy of the 1040 files, plus copies were sent to the Democratic office in the county and copies were sent to the GOP office in the county at the beginning of the week also containing flash drives with copies of Romney's tax returns before 2010. A scanned signature image for Mitt Romney from the 1040 forms were scanned and included with the packages, taken from earlier 1040 tax forms gathered and stored on the flash drives.
The group will release all available files to the public on the 28 of September, 2012
This line is on all the package letters for authenticity of the email being sent.
all these considerations did not deter me from the path of duty

Quote from: reddit
There is also "Items Seized" document with receipt involving his PayPal address:

The PayPal address means that the guy the Feds questioned about the Romney tax returns is the former owner of Endless-sphere.  We know that person is "our" KnightMB because he used the address both here and on Endless-sphere.  Therefore, "our" KnightMB is the guy the feds are investigating. KnightMB thread.

 Cats lead Feds to KnightMB (worth 371kBTC) in Romney Tax Hack. (

This cat picture along with the username knightmb was found on one of the usb drives sent with the ransom note.

No. 16-6291 United States v. Brown

The court of appeal opinion reads like a movie script.

It starts off...

SUTTON, Circuit Judge. When criminal-law cases imitate art, they do not always
choose its highest form. In Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, Dr. Evil develops a
plan to steal a nuclear warhead and to hold the world hostage for $1 million. This was not, Dr.
Evil’s deputy pointed out, all that much money for a 1990s global criminal enterprise. But it was
enough for an anonymous extortionist in today’s case, who apparently was familiar with the
movie and who chose some features of it as signatures of his 2012 crime. Assuming the nom de
guerre “Dr. Evil,” the individual demanded $1 million in Bitcoin in exchange for an encryption
key to Mitt Romney’s unreleased tax returns.

August 13, 2010 Bitcoin - the Game!

You get hired by a company called "bitcoincorp" and your job is to break into a building where a company called "Knightmb corp" is located.
"Knightmb corp" has possession of a thumb drive that contains a wallet with %50 of the worlds bitcoins in it which you need to secure before govpal finds and uses to take over their last remaining competitor.

Let the conspiracies begin......

(Bold my emphasis)

Dr Evil sent three USED flash drives with the evidence of the crime, his wifes name, a username he has used for years and photos of a friends cat to the media.....
or Austin Powers got "framed".

This is a work in progress and will be edited to add information. Comments and corrections welcome.

Title: Re: knightmb on bitcointalk - from 371,067.36 BTC to Mitt Romney extortion.
Post by: xtraelv on June 26, 2018, 10:46:38 AM

Related threads:
August 15, 2010, overflow bug SERIOUS
April 30, 2011, Anyone know what happened to knightmb and his 371,000 BTC?
November 10, 2012, Cats lead Feds to KnightMB (worth 371kBTC) in Romney Tax Hack.
October 30, 2013, Bitcoin TOP-500 Richest
April 03, 2018, Legendary profiles of bitcointalk.

From the judgement:

All three flash drives contained a file named “Romney1040-Collection.7z.” ... The unallocated space on the drives also held text strings and two photos of cats. The PricewaterhouseCoopers flash drive held the text string, “5276 dolphin kathryn.” … The Democratic Party drive had the string “4154 dolphin KnightMB.”

Brown pretended he'd secured copies of Romney's tax returns and threatening to publish them if the ransom wasn't paid.

His opsec was as terrible as a "Dr Evil" plot

Title: Re: knightmb on bitcointalk - from 371,067.36 BTC to Mitt Romney extortion.
Post by: xtraelv on September 08, 2018, 10:04:38 PM
Does anyone know whatever happened to Michael Brown ?

Surely with so much history in the crypto community he must be out there somewhere. He would be one of the interesting characters to talk to.


WOW 4 years (48 Months) so won't be released till 2020