Bitcoin or Life: The Side Effects of Crypto Wealth

Reading time – 5 min.

A powerful cryptocurrency boom has formed a fundamentally new class of wealthy quasi-celebrities in the global community. Investors and traders who managed in time at the very first stage of market development to bet on crypto are now hailed as prophets in the world of finance.

Many of them relentlessly display all the attributes typical of the nouveau riche – people who have experienced sudden wealth – endless parties on yachts, rampant shopping, cool cars, million-dollar NFTs on social media avatars.

Although envy is still not worth it. It is they who today are first of all becoming an easy target for lovers of quick profit. Moreover, we are no longer talking about Internet hacks and digital fraud, but about a real threat to health and life.

There is no reception against scrap?

Having created a fairly secure network for storing crypto assets, investors in digital coins and NFTs have clearly forgotten about physical crimes: from banal robberies to armed attacks, kidnappings and even murders.

No super-complex password, encrypted with the latest cryptography, will save you from a well-motivated attacker armed with a gun, knife or an ordinary wrench.

Jameson Lopp, a security specialist and bitcoin “fan”, has been monitoring and accounting for the physical threats received by the owners of cryptocurrencies. Jameson’s interest in this topic is personal. In October 2017, Lopp was attacked: the criminals extorted bitcoins from him, threatening to take his life.

In a short time, he managed to identify more than 100 such incidents. These are just the cases reported in the media. Most likely, not all the victims were ready to draw attention to the situation.

Lopp’s list reads like a textbook on different types of violence:

  • during a date, a man was drugged to force him to reveal passwords from digital wallets;
  • a fourteen-year-old teenager from England was kidnapped and beaten – immediately after he boasted on social networks of profits from cryptocurrency trading;
  • a crypto trader from the Netherlands fell victim to attackers dressed in police uniforms. They broke into the house and tortured him in front of his four-year-old daughter, demanding access to crypto assets.

Such cruelty, according to experts, is explained by the peculiarity of digital money – no one regulates them. Bitcoin and other coins are a virtual asset: the criminal who takes possession of them has a chance to go unpunished.

At the same time, the owners of digital assets themselves seem to be doing literally everything to attract completely inappropriate attention of criminals. What are their posts on social networks worth against the backdrop of expensive cars acquired by these people through trading on the cryptocurrency exchange.

NFT is no joke

Super popular funny pictures – you can’t touch them, but you really want to brag about them. Alas, this is how most of their owners perceive NFTs. These digital assets associated with contemporary art pose a particular threat to their owners today. The main risk group includes those who use bright pictures instead of a profile photo or openly display them on social networks.

Do not forget that the price of NFTs can range from a couple of hundred to several million dollars – for example, they paid so much for the famous NFTs from the Bored Ape Yacht Club collection.

So far, law enforcement agencies have not recorded mass theft of digital pictures, since, according to experts, most victims do not report physical violence in order to take possession of expensive NFTs. Victims prefer to remain silent – even after the loss of digital assets valued at millions of dollars.

Nobody is safe

Cryptocrime is the same age as cryptocurrencies. Hal Finney, a 58-year-old cryptographer and early bitcoin fan, is considered to be the first digital coin enthusiast to encounter this type of crime. By the way, according to one of the theories, it is Finney who is Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of the leading cryptocurrency.

In 2014 – a few months before his death – Hal, who was suffering from a chronic degenerative disease, was brutally hit by an extortionist who demanded $400,000 worth of bitcoins from him. As a result, an armed attack was made on the cryptographer’s house, and the police had to intervene.

Today, even very wealthy digital asset owners who take every conceivable security measure cannot sleep well.

Media entrepreneur Michael Arrington, who became an overnight crypto investor, recently revealed on social media that he was forced to move out of a huge Miami home that Michael recently purchased for $16 million.

The millionaire accused the agent of the respectable auction house Sotheby’s of leaking information about the deal. But the entrepreneur did everything to keep the location of the house a secret “due to real security threats against people who own crypto assets.”

Understanding the reality of threats (not only to money, but also to life) makes wealthy and ordinary participants in the crypto market hide their real names behind pseudonyms. In such a simple way, they try to maintain anonymity.

Demand for high-tech security equipment and physical protection services has skyrocketed. Cameras, bodyguards and call buttons for the police really can prevent the invasion of private property.

But the possession of digital assets is dangerous because they should not be taken out of the house in a physical sense. It is enough for an attacker to take possession of the key to cryptocurrency treasures – in fact, a code or cipher.

That’s why some owners have resorted to old-fashioned methods of protecting high-tech wealth. There are rumors in the world of cryptographers about a person storing digital keys to a cryptocurrency wallet in an armored safe. And another colleague of his buried the password to millions of dollars in digital assets somewhere in the forest. And today, these precautions no longer look redundant or ridiculous … And how do you ensure security – both personal and virtual assets?


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