Led 28

Masked Gunmen Steal ‘Fortune’ in Bitcoin in Daylight UK Robbery

· January 28, 2018 · 9:00 am

The very first UK Bitcoin robbery occurred when four armed men broke into a home and forced a crypto trader to transfer a “fortune” in Bitcoin.

The meteoric rise of Bitcoin over the course of 2017 featured a number of positive effects. A lot of people made a good deal of money, and media and public interest in cryptocurrency reached new heights. However, a downside to such attention is that criminals now see physically stealing Bitcoin or money used to buy crypto as a viable way to make money. A family in the UK found this out the hard way when four armed men broke into their home and forced the husband to transfer his bitcoins.

UK Bitcoin robbery

Terrifying Ordeal

It’s being called the first Bitcoin robbery in the UK, and it took place in Moulsford, Oxfordshire, a wealthy enclave, during the morning hours. The criminals broke into the home belonging to a cryptocurrency trader and his family.

The criminals were armed with handguns and wearing balaclavas. They tied up the trader’s wife and put the couple’s baby outside in a pram before forcing the trader to transfer over a “fortune” in bitcoins. (The exact amount that was stolen has not been disclosed.)

The criminals then fled, and the police manhunt began immediately after. A police helicopter was used in an effort to locate the hoodlums, but to no avail. Nearby schools were put on lockdown. Police are asking for any camera footage that shows four suspicious males in the area during the early morning hours.

One woman apparently saw the criminals. She describes:

I saw four young men in black tracksuits with the hoods pulled up, crossing the road to the property where it took place. They were aged 18 to 25, dark-skinned and super-fit. They jumped over the fence on the other side of the road. I didn’t see any gun, but that’s what people locally are saying – and that the men wore balaclavas which I didn’t see either, just the hoodies pulled up.

Bitcoin robbery

Media Hyperventilates on Bitcoin

Fortunately, no one in the family was injured during the Bitcoin robbery. Since the media has no blood and gore to wheeze on about, they’re drudging back up the same old tired talking points that Bitcoin is used mainly for illicit means.

Naturally, this is ludicrous as the blockchain is pure transparency. The UK-based cybersecurity firm Elliptic recently released a report that shows less than 1% of all Bitcoin transactions originate for criminal reasons. Of course, hard facts do little to hinder media speculation on Bitcoin and illegal activities.

While the rise of cryptocurrencies is tremendous, there is a dark side. There’s been a number of recent criminal attacks upon individuals with a connection to crypto. There has been a kidnapping and multiple accounts of robberies over the last month or so. Sadly, such instances are likely to continue as long as cryptocurrencies continue to gain in value.

Are you worried about the seeming rise of Bitcoin robberies? What can be done to stop them? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Images courtesy of Pxhere and Bitcoinist archives.

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Pro 10

00Bitcoin! British Spy Agency to Review Potential Bitcoin Risks

· December 10, 2017 · 3:45 am

The UK is calling upon its spy agency, the GCHQ, to review the potential risks that Bitcoin can bring and share that information with other government departments.

When one thinks of British spies, James Bond comes to mind. The swaggering superspy is known for regularly thwarting villains bent on world domination, all the while enjoying a nice vodka martini and the attention of beautiful women. However, the real world is far different as intelligence agencies often deal with highly technical, tedious matters. Sadly, James Bond isn’t going to burst into the lair of some Bitcoin villain any time soon, but the UK government is tasking its spy agency to review the risks associated with Bitcoin.

Shaken, Not Stirred

The spy agency tasked with probing potential Bitcoin risks is the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), which is an arm of the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ). The GCHQ is tasked with providing signals intelligence and information assurance to the UK government and its armed forces.

The deputy director for cyber skills and growth at the NCSC, Chris Ensor, recently told The Telegraph that:

We are interested in anything that could affect the country, so Bitcoin is a major thing now.

At the behest of the UK Treasury, the NCSC is examining how the cryptocurrency works, with a particular emphasis upon the potential benefits of the underlying blockchain technology. The agency is bringing in experts (mathematicians, academics, and industry professionals) to help civil servants in the UK government understand the burgeoning cryptocurrency field.

From Bitcoin with Love

The reason why the UK government is having the NCSC investigate Bitcoin is that it is concerned about the potential risks associated with the cryptocurrency. The recent surge in Bitcoin’s price has led to government authorities to begin fretting about the unregulated nature of the digital currency.

The Doughnut – Home of the GCHQ

The UK is considering a crackdown on Bitcoin through regulations. Currently, there are no regulations in the UK for Bitcoin exchanges or Bitcoin ATMs. That may change as the UK Treasury is suggesting changes to European money laundering rules that would require Bitcoin exchanges to know who their customers are. Chances are that regulations would also be enacted to require verification for a person to use a Bitcoin ATM.

Of course, a primary reason why the National Cyber Security Centre is looking into Bitcoin likely has to do with tax evaders. It’s no secret that many people shield their earnings by using cryptocurrency, which was clearly shown in the recent IRS lawsuit against Coinbase. You can bet that the UK Treasury wants to get their hands on some additional, and unreported, revenue.

Like any massive bureaucratic entity, the UK government is being forced to play catch up with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. This plodding approach is why so many people are flocking to digital currency to circumvent burdensome regulations and excessive taxes. Still, it is interesting that a spy agency is the one asked to look into Bitcoin, and it is pretty humorous that so much effort has to be made to explain cryptocurrency and blockchain technology to government bureaucrats.

What do you think about the NCSC probing into the potential risks of Bitcoin? Does it make you think of thrilling car chases and exciting shootouts? Let us know in the comments below.

Images courtesy of Flickr, Pixabay, and Wikimedia Commons.