The Crypto6: Ian Freeman Sentenced To 8 Years On Paperwork Violation For Selling Bitcoin & The Inside Story Of What Actually Happened

Around ~250 supporters turned out for Ian’s sentencing hearing between day 1 & 2 with some amount of overlap

Sadly many folks with an ulterior motive and those otherwise misinformed keep repeating the lies of the prosecution and mainstream media. I’m going to try and straighten out fact from fiction as the one person whose quite literally stood next to Ian Freeman and watched each and every little aspect since before the arrests in 2021 over the dastardly crime of not getting a permission slip to sell bitcoin. Let me start at the beginning though with some history lessons about the origins of the Shire Free Church and and the governments effort to squash the Free State Project as this case was never really about Ian selling Bitcoin or scammers as the prosecution would like you to believe.

Ian has been a key participant in the Free State Project and larger migration movement of libertarians to New Hampshire. The Free State Project aims to concentrate libertarians and like-minded individuals in New Hampshire for the purposes of securing liberty in our lifetime.

Ian’s sentencing speech read aloud by Captain Kickass, pre-sentence protest, and reaction from supporters after conviction + special edition of Free Talk Live; If you’d like to support those supporting the Crypto6 consider purchasing the Crypto6 music created by our very own Captain Kickass :



In the early days of the Free State Project early movers were asked why they moved and 2/3rd of them responded with Ian Freeman, Free Talk Live, or something connected to Ian. If there was ever a super activist it was Ian Freeman. Ian has been a non-stop super activist since moving to New Hampshire over a decade ago. He co-founded a talk show called Free Talk Live that gives anybody and everybody the opportunity to speak about anything they like on a nationally syndicated radio show. This however is just one of many activities Ian is active in. From reporting on abusive state actors to filming boring hearings at the state house. From protests to running for office Ian has done, Ian has organized it, and Ian has even committed acts of civil disobedience in face of cage time to protest unjust laws harming peaceful people. Ian even co-founded a church in 2010 for all the philosophically principled libertarian activists moving to New Hampshire! The church, the Shire Free Church was never going to be an ordinary church with steeple however. It was and is an interfaith church where the only requirement to partake is that you are an advocate of peace.

We take this mission of advocacy very seriously. Everyone who moves to New Hampshire for the Free State Project has signed a statement of intent and advocates for peaceful solutions to solve problems rather than violence or threats thereof. Often although not always violence is done through or in the name of the state. Many don’t likely understand what a libertarian actually is and confuse political messages by people claiming to be libertarian while not being libertarian with actual libertarians. Actual libertarians believe in something called the non-aggression principle. In simple terms it’s the idea that violence should only ever be used as a last resort and in self defense. Personally I like to describe it being just shy of a pacifist philosophy. When someone advocates for war, I object. When someone advocates to solve a social problem through the legislature I object. In order for a law to be legitimate in my eyes a party with a valid claim must be the victim of violence. Outlawing guns does not involve a victim. A party with a gunshot wound probably involves a victim of violence. Outlawing the former does not follow libertarian philosophy. Outlawing the later outside self defense does. Taxing John at the point of a gun is violent and the laws illegitimate. Asking John to make a voluntary contribution to help someone in need on the other hand is perfectly acceptable and admirable.

This advocacy for peace and criticism of law enforcement and governance by the way of a gun has never sat well with the bureaucrats and government employees and it’s even resulted in a decade long grudge between a particular federal employee Phil Christiana and a particular free state project leader Ian Freeman. In fact Ian gave a talk on the background of FBI’s attack on free staters and the connection to FBI agent Phil Christiana at the Porcupine Freedom Festival in 2022.

While the first issues between agent Phil Christiana and free staters began prior to Ian Freeman joining the Free State Project it was Ian Freeman that really ticked off Phil Christiana. Phil Christiana appears to see Ian as his enemy having led not 1, not 2, but 3 FBI investigations into taking Ian out. The first that I’m aware of occurred in 2012 with the arrest of Free Talk Live co-host Rich Paul. At the time Ian Freeman had taken the initiative to create an activist center and apparently Phil Christiana really hated this. The feds setup an undercover sting operation in an effort to rope in Rich Paul (he changed his name for political reasons to ‘Nobody’, and is the same co-host arrested in the Crypto6 case) with the intent of using Rich to get at Ian Freeman. Rich was brought to the local Keene police station and waiting inside was an FBI agent. That FBI agent told Rich that he had two choices. He could face prosecution or go wear a wire into the Keene activist center. Long story short- Rich refused, took it to trial, risked 100+ years in a cage, and ended up losing at least legally speaking. Despite the max he could have gotten he spent one year in a cage for this.



In 2016 the FBI once again were up to no good. An agent made a false swearifcation two weeks after a co-founder co-host of Free Talk Live criticized the FBI for distributing child pornography. It was not only disturbing, but hypocritical as the FBI regularly explains the ban on child pornography distribution as being to protect the children. By that logic the FBI was literally harming the children it was claiming to protect. This criticism came about a year after the FBI raided actual pedophiles or at least to the extent that they were telling the truth as the raids were based on tainted warrants. In any event the false affidavit that led to a raid was intended to take out Ian Freeman and Free Talk Live by way of slander through the media. Despite this 2016 raid on Free Talk Live’s studio and hit on Ian’s reputation Phil Christiana failed to take out either Ian Freeman or Free Talk Live. About 7 of 200 radio stations stopped airing Free Talk Live in response to the raid. Despite no arrests and no evidence the feds smeared Ian’s name all over the newspapers. Ian and others who had electronics stolen from the studio have been forced to sue the FBI to get their equipment returned. It’s only been in the last year or so that the FBI has had to give up and return the equipment as no crime was ever committed. They have however tried to drag the return of Ian’s devices out in furtherance of their goals of taking Ian out by way of leaving a question mark in peoples minds as to the extremely disturbing insinuation. While Ian may think optimistically about the judge in his Crypto6 case I don’t. During the sentencing hearing for Crypto6 co-defendant Renee Spinella Judge Joseph Laplante directed the prosecution to pursue fraudulent charges against Ian for despicable crimes that even the prosecution responded had been investigated and had no merit.

The Shire Free Churches Vending Machines Warned Users About Potential Scammers And The Various Ways They May Get Tricked Into Buying Bitcoin

In 2016 they raided over non-existent despicable content that didn’t exist based on a fraudulent affidavit. According to the prosecutor immediately following the March 2021 Crypto6 arrests she stated that the Crypto6 investigation began in March of 2016. If you can do the math this was immediately following the failed attempt at taking Ian out via a raid over content that alluded to crimes that never occurred. In 2021 after a 5-year investigation the FBI raided again this time over the bastardly crime of selling Bitcoin. The prosecution may now be claiming it was about scammers or money laundering. However that isn’t how it started, and during sentencing the prosecution admitted as much. The feds didn’t have a case. They didn’t know of any victims relating to Ian Freeman or the Shire Free Church. After spending millions of dollars on round the clock surveillance of Free Talk Live’s studio, tailing co-hosts vehicles for months on end, and infiltrating the libertarian porcupine freedom festival what did they know? They knew Ian was on the board of the Shire Free Church, that Ian and the church were selling Bitcoin for charity. This was never a secret. The vending machines had been well advertised in the newspapers and on popular online sites tracking where users can find a Bitcoin vending machine. The vending machines even warned unattended purchasers about the risks of online scammers and to never send Bitcoin to someone they did not know. This is no different than what retailers do for pre-paid card products.


2017 Photo Of The Shire Free Churches First Vending Machine Available For General Public Access Getting Some Publicity In The Local Paper


Ian even warned everyone including customers that transacted off of LocalBitcoin including via his Telegram profile of scammers

Ian even warned users in his social media profiles that he would NEVER ask anyone to send him crypto of any kind. A common scamming tactic is to impersonate other users in an effort to trick friends into sending crypto.

Ian didn’t sell crypto for profit, the Shire Free Church sold it for charity AND because Ian firmly believes whether you do or not that spreading crypto undermines government induced violence. Ian and the rest of us are advocating for a peaceful voluntary society in the courts, in the state house, and on the radio. It sounds kinda crazy if you don’t have an understanding of currency and the history of money or the context in which this preaching occurs. And remember this is merely one outreach effort of the church. Before dollars existed notes were issued to people who physically deposited their gold with banks. The promissory notes could then be handed in and the bank would give you your gold. In time people began trading those promissory notes directly for goods and services rather than exchanging actual gold. The United States created a currency and that currency was a standardization of the promissory notes that had previously been issued by private banks. This made it even more convenient as now you didn’t have to trade your TD bank promissory notes for a Bank Of America promissory note when you traveled outside the reach of TD Banks. After World War II the United States even convinced- or bullied may be a more appropriate term here the rest of the world to adopt the US dollar as the world reserve currency. This is all currencies were tied to the US dollar and the US dollar could then be exchanged for gold held by the United States. Now everyone was dependent on the dollar to buy and sell things between foreign countries. In 1971 the US ended this convertibility.

Bitcoin was started as a means of escaping banks and supporting violent governments, not as a tool for investors, even if admittedly it’s been the best investment in all of human history thus far

No longer could you get your gold out. Some countries did try to forcefully repatriate their countries gold reserves. Long story short the United States eliminated the ability to get your gold out of their vaults, the thing that actually has value. You might now be wondering why did they do that? Well, the United States was at war and by eliminating this convertibility the could print dollars and tax or steal from anyone who held US dollars. This funded the wars occurring at the time and the United States remains on this system today. In recent years (depending on what system you use to do the calculation) US dollar holders lost as much as 18% of their dollars value, or in other terms gold had they merely been safekeeping it for you. If you disagree with funding violence spreading Bitcoin or crypto more generally is one way to minimize your participation in government committed atrocities. You may have seen the drop Bitcoin, not bombs stickers, and this is at the heart of why principled libertarians became interested in Bitcoin before “investors” got on board.

Now I’m sure people are yelling, but the The Shire Free Church was fake! Because that is what the perpetrators of the real fraud have said. They have said it was setup disingenuously to attract scammers too. Well, I hate to break it to you, but the Shire Free Church dates back to 2010. 6 years before the first vending machines were installed in publicly accessible places or Bitcoin sold online. The Church was not that different than a TV ministry that preaches its values, but in this case had real people in the physical and local world community in New Hampshire too. A government informant was even married by the Shire Free Church’s minister Mark Edge at the Porcupine Freedom Festival in 2018. Many others have also been married by the Shire Free Church. The humorous thing here is Melanie Neighbors both claimed on the stand that the church was fake while then being questioned about why she would have had a fake church marry her. She had no good response to that.



Shire Free Church Minister Mark Edge Officiates The Marriage Of Fed Informant Melanie Neighbours. Take particular note of the religious clothing the minister is wearing. It says bitcoin, not bombs which is a reference to the immorality of using US dollars. US dollars are what we call fiat currency, or my preference is dirty fiat. It means government money of which has no backing. This is you can’t redeem your dollar for a certain amount of gold and the US government prints more and more dollars to fund war efforts. The printing of these dollars results in inflation and the loss of dollar holders purchasing power. Members of the Shire Free Church and particularly those most devoted resist the use of dollars whether it be through use of Bitcoin other cryptocurrencies or Goldbacks (Goldbacks are a currency containing actual gold).

The Shire Free Church was founded by group of people and has over the past 13 years had many different outreach projects. It’s not just a front to sell Bitcoin. The church was funded initially by donations by different people. The donation of a single person that was not Ian included a 100 BTC Casascius Bar. It’s hard to even calculate what that is worth today as so few are left unredeemed and the value isn’t just in the 100 Bitcoin. However, that alone over the last 13 years meant the church had enough reserves to last it at least 40 years assuming that the value kept going up or the church otherwise invested it. Yes, churches, and non-profits have investments, and they also have employees. Ian however did not receive a salary and what most people don’t know is he long ago took a vow of poverty. His minimal existence is sustained by the church. He has one bedroom in one of the churches two properties. He drives a church vehicle that is also used for other church activities. This is a vehicle that was purchased used for what I believe was less than $10,000 at the time. That’s it! This is the guy that people are vehemently attacking based on lies that he profited from the sale of Bitcoin. He never had a need. He donated two properties to the church in 2010, before taking a vow of poverty. The one property is today over-valued at under $300,000 and the other is a mixed use property with a small convenience store on it and a house that is harder to estimate, but maybe also in the $200-300,000 range. The property has not had a successful enterprise on it in at least a few decades, but the church has given several small businesses and minority entrepreneurs over the decade an opportunity to get into the game and at least try to make something of it. According to the experts that testified Ian may not owe any taxes, and the IRS’s website says neither churches nor ministers must file a return. The gist of it is a minister of a church is only required to file if they have a job working at Mc Donalds on the side. The essentials can be covered by the church. Ian devoted his life to his ministry. While he does not currently hold a paying job he has had employment in the past working at K-mart and was previously employed in the radio business. In fact after Ian’s 2021 arrest he was given a prestigious freedom of speech award by talk radio’s premiere industry publication. He has also previously received other awards including one for being the most outspoken advocate for freedom by the Free State Project.


The Two Church Owned Properties


Do you think having a privacy policy makes you someone who caters to scammers? I’d hope not. Your bank has one of these. Do you really think a money laundering business would advertise that they require ID? Of course not. Would an individual that the prosecutors are claiming to be, and at least to this degree are right a genius really have used Telegram, but than not deleted their conversations with victims? Would they have run Linux and then not made the disk read-only despite having created educational videos on Tails? Tails is an operating system designed to provide anonymity to users for those unaware. Ian didn’t create “secret chats” as Telegram calls them to securely communicate using end-to-end encryption with anyone the government is disingenuously calling a victim. In fact, the government attempted to imply that Telegram was used to hide a crime when no efforts were taken to do so. While Telegram by default has encryption it’s not end-to-end and no more secure than the platform utilized primarily to sell Bitcoin. What was the reason? I didn’t ask, but it’s obvious to anyone whose ever sold anything on eBay. Platforms like these charge fees. By taking a purchase off a platform you save on the fees. This usually works fine so long as you have a history with a buyer. These are the instances where Ian took some sales off of localbitcoin where the church normally sold Bitcoin.

Another lie that has been repeated and perpetrated by false prosecutorial claims was that Ian charged “exorbitant fees” to exchange proceeds from fraudsters’ romance and other scams into Bitcoin, which was really the church, and those fees they claimed he charged for Bitcoin were 10-21%. This is wrong. It’s an outright lie and manipulation. The church may have charged as much as 21% at some point to a first time customer under some circumstance. However all the victims in this case paid 10%, not 21%. These are competitive rates for online peer to peer platforms within the time frame  alleged and for the methods of payments used (which each have different costs associated with them). For selling crypto the church actually charged as little as 5% and its vending machines typically had the lowest rates for purchasing Bitcoin anywhere. The first time I purchased Bitcoin from the churches vending machine I paid an 8% fee. This is as low as I believe the vending machines themselves ever got. The prosecutor claimed that these fees were evidence that that Ian catered to scammers. It’s not the case given that they were in line with the industry norms. The church didn’t operate a Bitcoin exchange as the government claims. The church operated 1-4 vending machines with a new vending machine coming online about once a year. The church also sold Bitcoin on localbitcoin, but the fees varied and were determined by the market and costs associated with different methods. Vending machine rates differ but are typically (yes, FINCEN registered) around 8-20% and there was only one example of another vending machine operator charging 8% that I’ve ever encountered. Bitcoin exchanges are a high volume operation and have different costs associated with them. This is why they can offer 1-2% fees, but this can also be misleading as often exchanges lie to you. They don’t sell you Bitcoin. They sell you IOUs for Bitcoin. In other words if you send IOUs from one user to another on the same exchange it doesn’t cost anything more because you aren’t actually sending Bitcoin. But if you withdraw your IOUS and exchange them for actual Bitcoin to a wallet you control off the exchange or for a fiat currency these exchanges will charge another percentage fee on top of this 1-2% advertised rate.

Other disturbing aspects about the case is the basis for which the prosecutor considered a transaction to be suspicious. The prosecutor asked how Ian could possibly have overlooked the fact one guy was black. The government says that Ian should have filed a report on it (even though he couldn’t as the church wasn’t a money transmitter under the law). People who are over 60 are also suspicious apparently as well people from other countries or maybe it’s just countries that are predominantly not of Caucasian or of European dissent. It frankly wasn’t clear how far this guys bigotry extended. Meanwhile Ian regularly helped business owners and others at no charge as well as folks on the older side with their crypto questions. A number of business owners testified to this. One lady regular came and comes to our Keene Decentralized Currency Meetups. She was the oldest person to testify at 79 years old during the trial. Many other businesses were setup to accept crypto by Ian- and not once did he ask for money. Ian didn’t do cryptocurrency activism for profit. He did it for religious reasons. He believes in peace and anything to that end he supports. Speaking of which Ian wasn’t selling just Bitcoin as a fundraiser for the church. The church also sold goldbacks which are a form of ‘real money’. What that means is that the currency isn’t backed by gold. It is gold. To Ian it’s not about making money. He was already wealthy prior to founding the church and rather than retire like some people in our community he took a vow of poverty and disposed of his assets. He now works focuses full time on various outreach efforts to that end.

Let’s talk about some of these other outreach efforts for a moment that have nothing to do with Bitcoin. The government admits that most Bitcoin sold went back into buying Bitcoin. They never claimed it went to fund luxury cars, mansions, or his personal benefit. They may have said it was his personal gain, but no evidence of this existed that they could point to. No, not at all, but I can tell you where the money went that didn’t return to the pool to purchase more Bitcoin. It went to charitable causes in Keene and to people around the world.

The church funded the construction of a mosque for a persecuted religious minority in Keene. The space was donated by the church and about 20 muslim families one of which was from India even testified to that end. He did not know much about the Shire Free Church other than that the church had funded the construction of the mosque and that his family partook in the mosques services, but none-the-less, the church was focused on its mission of spreading peace and helping people in need. The government then had the gall to insult the man asking if the mosque was just another front for Bitcoin. The man responded that he didn’t know anything about Bitcoin although acknowledged his Indian Curry Restaurant accepted Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies even though he didn’t know much about it and needed a lot of help with it. Something else which he said was that Ian was always extremely helpful with Bitcoin and promoting his business. When he was asked if Ian charged for this he said no. He also said he was extremely appreciative of Ian and all that Ian had done to drive traffic to his struggling restaurant. This was also said by a number of other witnesses that were brought in to counter the governments slander.

Another instance of the churches outreach efforts included funding for an orphanage in Uganda. What is truly disingenuous and nefarious is the feds denial of a mans visa who could otherwise have come to the United States to testify on Ian’s behalf about orphanage he helped build with the Shire Free Churches funding and support. This was one of the larger financial contributions to charitable causes that the church made and its members helped raise additional funds for.

Some Of The People Involved In The Uganda Orphanage The Shire Free Church Made Possible

The church has also attempted to acquire and donate property to a local homeless shelter. What almost no one else is aware of besides me, Ian, and maybe couple of others is that the FBI interfered in the effort to acquire and donate a portion of a property to the homeless shelter. The property consisted of two attached buildings and one of them would have been donated to the shelter had the shelter not backed away in fear of the consequences as the result of government meddling. It was not the church or Ian that were fake, or at fault for under-performing if you were to somehow try and argue that, but the government’s own intimidation of charitable organizations that the church was attempting to work with.

The church also helped many people in the community who were of lower income with below market rate rents. Some of these families had members with drug addiction issues and other mental health problems. Other members of the church would routinely volunteer to drive some of these individuals around. One family lacked a car. Neither mom nor dad could drive and were dependent on the church and its members for rides to and from grocery stores and even getting to and from work. On numerous occasions I personally drove one mother who had been separated for the sake of the kids to and from work while she was attempting to beat a terrible drug addiction. Both sides had mental health issues, but at least dad was employed and able to take care of the kids with some amount of outside assistance. Dad eventually was able to get on some form of government assistance and is now running his own business and licensed.

Before the building was converted to a mosque other church members assisted in cleaning it out. This volunteer work was grueling. The house had previously been used by a family who had fled the state. Their drug addictions were severe and despite having garbage pickup service paid for by a good samaritan they would never put the garbage outside for pickup. Instead of using the service they started using the basement as a dumping ground for their trash. This resulted in a house full of bed bugs, rodents, and physical deterioration of the property. It took a slew of volunteers to help clean it out. If only I wouldn’t embarrass one of the volunteers who did the dirtiest of the deeds I’d include a picture here of him that I have stripping down to his undies and being scrubbed down outside the home (no worries, it’s not weird, it is someone very close to me). It was that disgusting. It’s unclear if those bedbugs were ever fully eliminated. It’s been at least a good handful of years and despite this there was a bedbug infestation that was recently discovered by new tenants. Keep in mind the church immediately took appropriate action to remediate the situation once it was brought to attention.

During the sentencing hearing at least one of the media outlets seemed to describe supporters as disturbing as if we were giving a scammer a “standing ovation when he entered the room”. In reality we were supporting an innocent man fighting against thugs who were defrauding the public and using violence against a man who went above and beyond to stop scams and educate people about safe and proper use of Bitcoin. Not just as an investment, but as a means of transacting business. Bitcoin is not just a means of spreading peace, but while we may have peaceful objectives it’s actually a means of helping people escape an actually nefarious system. Bitcoin was created in response to the 2008 financial collapse when the banks took peoples homes after knowingly issuing subprime loans that borrowers would not be able to pay back when interest rates rose. Bitcoin enables users to be their own bank. One need not procure the services of highly regulated and immoral financial institutions to conduct transactions at a distance. These financial institutions have been ordered by bureaucrats with regulatory authority to ban classes of people from protesters to workers in the legal sex trade. From Justin Trudeau ordering bank account seizures during the truckers protest in Canada to US bureaucrats cutting off access to unauthorized entrants to essential banking services. Sometimes these acts just push up the cost of sending money back home, but at other times it’s it’s a complete financial nightmare for people who haven’t even been in a completely legal industry for 20 years. Protecting vulnerable people is a lofty goal, but it’s not morally acceptable to lock people up, use violence against, and lie about individuals did under the guise of fighting crime. It’s not morally OK to exploit and use people as scapegoats to send a message either.

At the end of the day Ian was convicted of something he did not do. Fortunately all of the significant charges including money laundering were tossed for lack of evidence before sentencing or dropped prior to the trial. The jury didn’t have evidence upon which to come to a verdict of guilty as the evidence presented actually proved his innocence. He turned down the undercover IRS agents ask to buy Bitcoin and would not sell to him once he knew the agent was pretending to be a drug dealer. Ultimately 20 of the 27 trumped up charges were dropped or otherwise tossed. What remains must now be appealed post-sentencing.

Some points to note about how the judge and audience are being misled. One victims letter that was read to the court included that a scammer directed her to wire money to the church and sent $300,000 “wiping out her life’s savings”. This isn’t correct. She may have been ripped off for $300,000, but the church didn’t see that money. The scammers would direct their victims to purchase various amounts of Bitcoin from different sellers. The church did receive some repeat business, but ultimately these amounts were a small percentage of the funds lost. Ian would utilize commercial phone books to lookup and call buyers in an effort to avoid calling someone merely pretending to be the buyer. Through this method he was able to confirm that the buyers of Bitcoin from the church understood that they were buying Bitcoin and were not being scammed. The problem ultimately was that scammers aren’t all dumb. Some are actually very intelligent and were successful at convincing their victims to lie about their purchases. At one point Ian even asked a women if she had ever met her husband. This was not because he suspected her of being a victim necessarily, but merely because he was trying to catch any potential scammer off guard. While offensive in nature he carefully asked the question blaming the law as to why he was asking it, still to some offense. To make a long story short she lied and said she had. If she had said she had never met her husband Ian may have been able to have persuaded her not to buy Bitcoin for a lover she had never met in person. Remember that it was not just the church that victims would buy bitcoin from, so even had he refused to sell to her she would not have been left unvictimized short of Ian having been able to convince her of the mistake she was making.

One of the most interesting parts of the sentencing was that a supposed victim read a letter for the audience that stated she had bought her bitcoin at a vending machine in the state of Florida. The Shire Free Church never operated a vending machine outside the state of New Hampshire. This was not testimony, but it demonstrates that these women were being coached and providing unreliable testimony. These so-called victims were convinced by the prosecution that Ian was somehow involved in their victimization despite it being the farthest thing from the truth. “if only Ian had registered” was the logic, despite that not making an iota of a difference given the churches know your customer regime was stronger than that of any bank these victims used to wire funds to the church in the first place.

There was one other disturbing thing I overheard from a conversation between a Sentinel reporter and a government employee. The government employee was OK’ing the writers story. Whether this was suggestive that he was working hand in hand or otherwise seeking approval it didn’t appear to be honest journalism. The media for the most part failed to get the whole story or fairly report the story although I believe the reporting for the Sentinel on this sentencing story despite this incident was not as terrible as I’ve seen it on other articles they’ve  written about the Crypto6. At least some effort appeared to be made to give the resemblance of fair reporting whether or not it actually was.

The government brought in a lot of sob stories about elderly women being victims. In reality it wasn’t all women, and they weren’t all elderly. About 20% of the victims were young and no older than the judge, prosecutors, and lawyers, and some were men. The victims were that of third party perpetrators and the government admitted during the trial that Ian did NOT scam anyone or know of the scammers at the time these victims were being scammed. They attempted to frame it as if he knew the people buying Bitcoin were victims of scammers by carefully cutting audio from episodes of Free Talk Live where the scams were discussed post-discovery. Prior to discovery Ian did not know any of these victims at trial were being victimized by a third party scammer. These so-called victims had lied to the banks which were used to wire the money to the church. The banks didn’t have any effective KYC- procedures either that worked 100% of the time. A credit union lady testified they don’t have to cut off individual transactions even. Know your customer procedures were followed by Ian religiously. Know your customer procedures are not created by the government, but rather by the financial institutions licensed to transmit money or otherwise those operating banks. KYC is not required unless you are moving money on behalf of another from one location to another or from one person to another. The church never transmitted anything. The church sold Bitcoin and only sold Bitcoin from it’s own wallet raising money for charity. No financial gain occurred as it relates to Ian Freeman.

Ultimately the lawyers who advised the church prior to the 2021 arrest were correct on the requirements and whether the church had to register with the regulatory agency FINCEN. The lawyers that advised the church had a deep understanding of what Bitcoin was. The judge on the other hand couldn’t fathom what Bitcoin was. In his decision he actually revealed that he thought the blockchain was a real life breathing human being. The church in practice only ever sold its own Bitcoin though and did not move money on behalf of others like walmart does or a bank does or an actual exchange does. The church didn’t need to register as a money transmitter for this and other reasons, but the ignorance of the judge resulted in a conviction on the money transmitter charge anyway. The other aspect of why the church wasn’t required to register came down to the fact the church wasn’t doing it for profit. A person selling Bitcoin without a profit or markup for instance or a church doing it for charity isn’t included in the law. I believe that the defense preserved the issue for appeal so it could get overturned on appeal. Unfortunately it’s more than likely Ian will serve out his sentence prior to the appeal meaning that while he may get found not guilty of all the charges later he’ll still have served his sentence.

For now the remaining convictions that will need to be appealed include the follow: Operation of an unlicensed money transmitting business, conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money transmitting business, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and attempts to evade or defeat tax in the years 2016 through 2019.

For that Ian has been sentenced to 8 years for what amounted to a paperwork violation. The good news is this is more than half of the minimum sentence for the charges he’s been convicted of. In practical terms the estimate for his release with “good time” under a new law is 4 ½ to 5 years. And sadly yes he has not been allowed to remain free on appeal as the judge had previously stated was likely. This is probably because he threw out the money laundering charge prior to sentence and it was the lack of evidence for the knowledge component of the money laundering statute that the judge thought would be successful on appeal. So, the good news is he’ll be back. The bad news is it probably won’t be before his appeal is concluded or his sentence is completed. Judge Laplante also sentenced Ian to two years of supervised release, ordered him to pay a court fine of $40,000, and ordered forfeiture and restitution to be decided at a future hearing. Stay tuned to Free Keene for continuation of this story and others. And remember, Ian may be held up for a bit, but the Free State Project, Free Talk Live, and the church live on. We should be ecstatic as our community is thriving with record numbers of new movers every year, more and more government violence in New Hampshire being eliminated,  and those advocating violence being done away with in favor of peaceful liberty minded individuals. For that I am very thankful! So lets keep up the good work.


A Locally Organized Bitcoin Pizza Day Photo Celebrating The Day That Bitcoin Was First Used A Currency, NOT Just Some Investment Vehicle Or Scammer Tool

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