Base Offense Level

The starting point for determination of the guideline range under the guidelines in Chapter Two. Each offense-specific guideline states a starting point on the severity scale. The final offense level may increase or decrease from the starting point, depending on additional factors.

Bitcoin (BTC)

Created in 2009, Bitcoin is a form of digital cryptocurrency that is distributed on a peer-to-peer basis. It has no central bank, and transactions are conducted directly between individuals with permanent, public records stored in a blockchain ledger. Bitcoin is arguably the most well-known cryptocurrency.


A payment processing company and software application that allows merchants such as eBay, Amazon, and other online shopping sites to accept bitcoin as payment for goods and services.


A digital file distributed to everyone participating in a cryptocurrency network. The blockchain acts as a kind of general ledger, keeping track of all the transactions that take place in the network. Everyone can look at the blockchain to see what transactions have taken place on the network, and the blockchain is sealed using cryptography so that no one can tamper with it.


A program that automates a simple action so that it can be done repeatedly at a much higher rate of speed and for a more sustained period than a human operator could. Bots are, in themselves, benign and used for many legitimate purposes, such as online content delivery. However, bots are often used in conjunction with cracking. For instance, bots may be used maliciously to make content calls that comprise denial of service attacks. “Bot” is also a term used to refer to the individual hijacked computers that make up a botnet.


A group of computers controlled without their owners’ knowledge and used to send spam or to make denial of service attacks. Malware is used to hijack the individual computers, also known as “zombies,” and to send them directions.

Bureau of Prisons

The federal agency that houses federal inmates. The BOP is part of the Department of Justice.