Cryptocurrencies, especially Bitcoin (BTC), are often associated with criminal acts such as money laundering. While there is some truth to these accusations, sometimes criminal acts occur outside the digital realm.
Attempted Crypto Theft
Earlier this week, three criminals invaded the home of a Netherlands-based Bitcoin trader looking to steal his cryptocurrency. Masquerading as police officers, the robbers moved inside and tortured the victim with a drill for around an hour. The three meant to intimidate with firearms, though there was no bullet damage. The criminals escaped in a vehicle shortly after the process. The man’s four-year-old daughter was present as well, reports De Telegraaf.
Actual police officers are investigating the crime which took place in the town of Drenthe. While they are not coming forward with the name of the victim, officers claim that the thieves failed to steal any cryptocurrency.
Speaking to The Independent, a spokesperson for the Northern Netherlands Police revealed that police are still investigating as of this writing.
Because of their decentralized nature, crypto theft is hard to execute. Assets are stored in wallets and are only tradable via a complicated private key. That key can transfer currencies to other wallets and can only be seen by looking into the wallet or at the owner’s merit, hence the torture process.
While cryptocurrency holders tend to discuss their financials online, this can be risky. These assets are still new and hold incredible value; meaning holders are prime targets for theft. Fortunately for investors, buying Bitcoin is a relatively secure process. It’s the storage methods that can leave investors vulnerable.
The past few years have seen a myriad of crypto-related crimes. A notable case is when thieves kidnaped Ukrainian blockchain analyst Pavel Lerner and held him at ransom for more than $1 million in Bitcoin. While someone paid the ransom, and Lerner returned unharmed, this goes to show how desperate criminals can be when it comes to crypto theft.
According to Roll Call, hackers stole more than $1.7 billion in cryptocurrency in 2018. On the bright side, this theft is leading to a new wave of products: crypto-insurance. However, not many people understand this industry. Such ideas need more time to incubate before the public gets their hands on them. That said, investors should be looking into whatever they can to protect their digital currencies. Demanding change is the only way we’re going to get there. It’s what we need for this industry going forward.