Headline May 06, 2018/ ''' BITCOIN'S BLUE'S *BITTER'S '''


IN THE BEGINNING of the year, A Turkish businessman was forced to hand over the passwords of his virtual currency wallets containing $3 million worth of Bitcoin-

After having his car stopped by an armed gang in Istanbul that appeared to know about his Bitcoin  holdings, according to local news reports.

For Bitcoin's rich new threat is rising fast, rather, very fast.

IN ANOTHER happening, just about at the same time, the currency they were after was virtual, but the guns they carried were very, very damn real.

In the beach resort of Phuket, Thailand, around February last, the assailants pushed their victims, a young Russian man, into his apartment and kept him there, blindfolded, until-

He logged onto his computer and transferred about $100,000 worth of Bitcoin to an online wallet they controlled.

A few weeks before that, the head of Bitcoin exchange in Ukraine was taken hostage and released only after the company paid a ransom of $ 1 million in Bitcoin.

In New York City, a man was held captive by a friend until he transferred over $1.8 million worth of  Ether, a virtual currency second in value only to Bitcoin.

THE RICH have always feared extortion. Now big holders of Bitcoin and its brethren have become enticing marks for criminals, especially since the prices of virtual currencies entered the stratosphere last year.

*Virtual currencies can be easily transferred to an anonymous address set up by a criminal.

When banks can stop or reverse large electronic transactions made under duress, there is no Bitcoin bank to halt or take back a transfer, making the chances of a successful armed holdup frightening enticing.

Thieves have taken advantage of this system in a startling number of recent cases, from Russia, Ukraine and Turkey to Canada, the United States and Britain.

''This is now becoming more pervasive and touching more law enforcement divisions that deal with organized crime and violent crime on local level.'' said Jonathan Levin, a founder Chainalysis, which has worked with several law enforcement agencies on virtual currency crimes.

Mr. Levin's company specializes in tracking criminal transactions on the blockchain, - the computerized ledger where every Bitcoin transaction is publicly recorded.

Chainalysis has helped police attempt to track down criminals in several recent cases, including some that have not been made public, according to Mr. Levin.

But even when a transaction can be tracked, the design of  Bitcoin means that criminals do not have to associate their identity with their Bitcoin address - as is necessary with most traditional bank accounts. that has stymied the police in several cases.

''For this, the advantage of Bitcoin is that it's hard to verify,'' said Chanut Hongsitthichaikul, an investigator with the Chalong Police Station, which investigated the case in Phuket.

''We asked the victim how to track it since since they know Bitcoin better than us.  We asked them how to check the receiver. They said there was no way. It is hard to do.''

The  Thai police tracked the victim's laptop, which was also stolen, to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. That's where the trail went cold.

While the recent crime wave has brought a new level of violence, virtual currency holders have been targets for several years.

Criminals have been running a long-running campaign to remotely hijack the cellphone numbers of prominent virtual currency holders in order to gain control of their digital wallets.

The Honor and Serving of the latest Operational Research on Bitcoin, Criminals and Crooks continues. The World Students Society thanks author, and  researcher Nathaniel Popper.

With respectful dedication to the  *Investigators Law Enforcement Agencies*, and then Students, Professors and Teachers of the world-

See Ya all ''register'' on !WOW! - the World Students Society and Twitter- !E-WOW! - the Ecosystem 2011:

''' Safety -!WOW!-  Sites '''

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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