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Bitcoin ransoms just are not what they used to be

Give me Bitcoin or your life. Seriously?

The people behind a rash of bomb threats made across the United States and Canada on Thursday demanded a US$20,000 (RM83,600) ransom to be paid in Bitcoin. Authorities said none of the threats – emailed to hundreds of businesses, public offices and schools – appeared credible.

Frankly, the perpetrators would have been better off asking for Turkish lira.

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have long been a favourite ransom tender for cybercriminals thanks to the currencies’ anonymous nature.

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US cybersecurity firm Chainalysis estimates that from 2012 through 2017, global ransom payments using Bitcoin totalled at least US$31mil (RM129mil).

Anonymity aside, of course, the big appeal was an incredible run-up in Bitcoin’s value over that time. It shot from US$5 (RM20) a coin at the start of 2012 to nearly US$20,000 (RM83,600) at this time last year, according to data from Bitstamp, one of the larger bitcoin exchanges.

Today? Not so hot.

Bitcoin on Thursday was trading at around US$3,250 (RM13,500), down more than 80% from its record high. In the last three months alone it has plunged 50%.

Even the currencies of some crisis-hit economies like Turkey have done better: The lira is up 30% since August. – Reuters

News Credit – The Star

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