Cryptocurrency heists are usually covert affairs that leave users with empty wallets, but not fearing for their life. Still, there are always some unlucky individuals who get the worst of everything.
Case in point: Bitcoin traders D.A. and A.J., who were robbed at gunpoint on January 22 in their home in Moulsford, Oxfordshire (UK).
The two are directors of Aston Digital Currencies, and D.A. traded cryptocurrency online under the pseudonym “Goldiath.” He has carried out more than 100,000 trades, and the attackers likely discovered his real identity because some of his clients referred to him by his real name.
Once they knew that piece of information, finding an address to go with the name and the company was easy.
According to the Daily Mail, the four masked robbers broke into the couple’s house in the morning, tied the woman, left the couple’s baby in the pram outside, and forced the man to transfer the company’s Bitcoin stash to a Bitcoin address they control.
The amount of Bitcoin the attackers stole is still unknown.
Instances of cryptocurrency heists at gunpoint are rare
Another similar, but ultimately failed heist happened in Ottawa, Canada, on January 20.
According to the Daily Beast, three armed thieves entered the offices of Canadian Bitcoins, a brick-and-mortar Bitcoin exchange, tied four employees up, and attempted to coerce them to complete a Bitcoin transaction to an address provided by them.
A fifth employee that managed to go unnoticed by the attackers alerted the police.
As the police descended on the offices, the thieves fled without getting what they came for. One of them was arrested and charged, the others are still at large.
These are not the first instances of criminals attempting to physically force Bitcoin owners to part with their stash.
Last December, Pavel Lerner, CEO of the UK-registered cryptocurrency exchange Exmo Finance, was kidnapped by armed attackers as he was exiting the company’s offices in Kiev, Ukraine. He was released after paying the $1 million bitcoin ransom.
UPDATE (January 30, 2018): It seems that, after all, the UK robbers didn’t get the Bitcoin they were after. According to the Daily Mail, D.A. tricked the armed robbers into leaving his home with nothing after pretending to transfer the crypto-currency to them.