Increasingly, kidnappers are demanding a ransom for hostage release in bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies. They mistakenly believe that the pseudonymity of cryptocurrencies will protect them from law enforcement.

Millions for freedom

Twelve people suspected of involvement in the abduction of American businessman William Sean Creighton Kopko in Costa Rica were arrested. Nine of them were detained in Costa Rica, and three were caught in Spain, CCN reports.

The businessman who owns the online gaming platform 5Dimes, was kidnapped in Costa Rica three months ago. The Copco family paid a ransom for his release worth about $950,000 in bitcoins. But the criminals did not release the businessman, and he is still missing.

The similar situation occurred in Norway, where in October 2018 the wife of the Norwegian millionaire Anne-Elisabeth Falkevik Hagen was abducted. She was kidnapped from her own home. Later, kidnappers sent a note demanding a ransom of 9 million euros in Monero for her release.

Dangerous countries

Several high-profile abductions of crypto entrepreneurs occurred in Ukraine. Thus, on 26 December, 2017, attackers kidnapped Pavel Lerner, a blockchain technology specialist of the EXMO cryptocurrency exchange. A few days later he was released.

According to sources familiar with the materials of the criminal case, Lerner was forced to pay 160 bitcoins to his kidnappers. At that time, it was worth about $2 million.

In June, a group of robbers tracked a Kiev citizen who owned cryptocurrencies. The criminals attacked him at the mall parking, where they forced him into their car and drove him to the garage, where they lured his laptop, phone, and access to personal data. As a result of their actions, robbers managed to steal 158 bitcoins.

In March 2018, two criminals attacked the owner of a mining farm in Kiev, forcibly pushed him into their car and took him outside the city. They managed to steal $50,000 in BTC. In November, the Ukrainian police detained them.