DIGITAL CURRENCY just got physical as Britain has experienced its first Bitcoin robbery, with a trader being forced at gunpoint to transfer cryptocurrency.
In the quiet Oxfordshire village of Moulsford, the kind of place Brexiters get all misty-eyed for, Danny Aston, who runs a digital currency company, was confronted by four armed robbers in his converted barn home.
The robbers reportedly kicked in the barn's front door down last Monday morning and tied up Aston's 31-year-old girlfriend and held their baby outside of the barn to force the 30-year-old trader to handover his digital money.
It's not clear how much was stolen, but The Times reports that Aston was a dab hand at cryptocurrency trading and had completed more than 100,000 trades with in excess of 16,300, which would suggest he had a fair bit of virtual wealth to pilfer.
The police were alerted to the robbery at 9:40am but as yet no arrests have been made. The incident is thought to be the first of its kind in Britain.
Given Aston traded using a pseudonym and cryptocurrency can be difficult to track, it's yet unknown how the four burglars were able to find Aston's home.
There's not much else to go on in terms of additional information. But the robbery is indicative of the furore that's surrounding cryptocurrencies at the moment.
Where once the likes of Bitcoin were difficult to understand and sat on the fringes of society, a single Bitcoin can now fetch £8,000. This has led to many investing in the turbulent and unregulated currency as well as other like Ripple and Monero, with the goal of making a quick buck.
The de-regulated nature of such cryptocurrencies and the difficulty of tracing them makes various digital wallets an attractive target to cyber thieves, particularly as more companies and banks are accepting or considering the use of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
And now cryptocurrency craze seems to have spilled out of cyberspace and into the physical world, giving criminals, no doubt au fait with jacking cars and robbing warehouses, the opportunity to use their very physical 'skills' to nick stuff from the digital world.
With prime minister Theresa May wanting to clamp down on cryptocurrencies, it'll be interesting to see whether the rise of Bitcoin and others will spark-off new criminal enterprises or be forced down more regulated lines to keep the crooks at bay. µ
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