A disturbingly large, crowdsourced child pornography site called "Welcome to Video" was taken out on October 16, 2019, saving 23 actively abused children. The bust resulted in the arrest of the site administrator, 23 year old Jong Woo Son, from his home in South Korea and 337 active site users from 38 countries.
The freemium site encouraged and rewarded users to refer new members and upload child pornography videos and images. The site's stash totaled over 250,000 individual videos and graphic images and generated over 1 million downloads. Users could buy a VIP account that provided unlimited downloads for 6 months using Bitcoin.
The Internal Revenue Service's criminal division was able to trace the site's Bitcoin transactions leading to the unmasking of site participants and worked with the Homeland Security Investigations unit and law enforcement around the world to shut down the operation.
U.S. authorities disclosed information about three dozen of the accused site users, including former federal agents and a Georgia man who videotaped children in his own bathroom and uploaded videos of them. The other site users who’ve been charged weren’t identified. Two users took their own lives after search warrants were executed, authorities said. Investigators from the Internal Revenue Service and Homeland Security Investigations worked with law enforcement around the world, including the U.K.’s National Crime Agency. The NCA said it uncovered the Welcome to Video site while investigating a man now serving a 25-year jail term, and that it identified Son as the operator. “Our agency’s ability to analyze the blockchain and de-anonymize Bitcoin transactions allowed for the identification of hundreds of predators around the world,” Fort said. “The scale of this crime is eye-popping and sickening.”