In a Bitcoin-related kidnapping event in Karnataka, India, abductors asked for a 100 BTC ransom for the son of a local businessman and crypto investor. The police managed to capture six suspects on the case, which were all related to the victim’s family.
100 BTC for The Son of A Crypto Investor
An eight-year-old boy from India has been kidnapped with a ransom note demanding 100 bitcoins, worth about $2.3 million. The incident happened in the southwest Indian state of Karnataka while the child was playing in front of his family house in Ujire taluk of Mangaluru district on Thursday, December 17.
According to a recent news report, the abducted minor’s father and grandfather were prominent local businessmen and investors in cryptocurrencies, and more precisely, Bitcoin.
Shortly after the family signalized the police, the kidnappers have reduced their ransom demand to from 100 to 60 bitcoins and threatened the boy’s family with “dire consequences” for approaching the police.
Local authorities formed a special police group that traced the new ransom message from a cell tower in the Hassan district of Karnataka. Police have arrested and accused six individuals on the case, concluding that they are well-known to the kidnapped boy’s family.
Why Kidnappers Go For Bitcoin
The last Bitcoin-ransom kidnap case is far from being the only one reported in India or any other country. As CryptoPotato reported, in July this year, police arrested Norwegian millionaire Tom Hagen during another crypto-related crime, suspecting him in the murder of his wife as part of a cryptocurrency ransom case.
Unlike traditional financial institutions, Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies use blockchain network and are typically considered harder to trace and link to individuals. That is regarded as one of the main reasons that there is quite the buzz of kidnappers demanding their ransoms in digital assets in the last couple of years.
The primary cryptocurrency is also considered the main asset used in the so-called Darknet market to purchase drugs and execute other illegal deals.
Cryptocurrency usage on the Darknet has reached $1.5 billion this year. The annual report from blockchain forensics company Chainalysis emphasized a possible connection between the data and the COVID-19 pandemic.
The official analysis informed that the Darknet market’s total revenue in 2020 is already bigger than 2019’s, despite the sudden drop in March and April. At the time, the Darknet activity, which was not considered influenced by the BTC price movements, decreased as most cryptocurrencies lost up to 70% of their value.
However, further data from Chainalysis shows that Darknet revenue began to accelerate from May this year, breaking the short-term correlation with the prices.
Bitcoin Might Attract Even More Bad Actors in 2021
Another recent report by Kaspersky noted that the more valuable Bitcoin gets, the more attractive it becomes to bad actors. Looking at the main online security threats for the next year, the multinational cybersecurity and anti-virus provider foresaw an increase of ransomware danger and more demands to be requested not only in BTC but in privacy coins, like Monero as well.
“With the pandemic likely to cause a wave of poverty in 2021, and certain economies and local currencies possibly plummeting or crashing, it’s predicted that fraudulent activities targeting Bitcoin will be increasingly attractive to threat actors.”