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Cryptocurrency and crimes

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Brothers Amir and Rais Kaji founded a platform in Johannesburg, to speculate in cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin.

The two brothers have vanished with $3.6 billion owned by users of their platform. Although suspicions of their actions surfaced last April, the investors’ lawyer did not inform the authorities for fear that this would affect the speed of recovery of the stolen funds, especially since the South African government does not recognize cryptocurrencies and their disappearance is not a clearly stated crime.

The sum of 200 million Canadian dollars from the rights of investors, placed in cryptocurrencies, disappeared with the death of its founder in India allegedly from Corona, and the code was buried with him.

In April 2021, a report showed that the 80 largest cyber thefts of the past decade resulted in collective losses of $2.5 billion, and I was personally a victim of one of them. The records of a company I run were subjected to hacking, which resulted in the freezing of the entire company’s accounts, preventing access to it, stopping all sales lines, and putting us in a serious trouble that did not end until two hours later when an unknown person called via e-mail asking for a ransom in exchange for lifting the freezing.

We agreed to his request immediately, hoping to obtain information that would help arrest him, but he was smart as he asked us to transfer the ransom in an encrypted currency to his account, and this was done immediately  because we needed to lift the freezing due to work pressure and it was almost impossible to delay customers’ orders.

Almost two months ago, the world’s largest meat company was subjected to a similar operation and was forced to pay a ransom to release its records upon the advice of its lawyer to avoid a halt in the delivery of orders around the world.

A month ago, the Brazilian international company JBS was subjected to cyber-attack on its records and disruption of its entire business, forcing it to pay a large ransom to protect clients of the company from great risks.

Colonial Pipeline, the operator of America’s largest fuel pipeline was also blackmailed, forcing it to pay 75 bitcoins to a group of Russian hackers and the authorities were subsequently able to recover some of the ransom.

These hackers know very well that through such operations, and demand for ransom in the form of cryptocurrency, they can make great fortune in ways that are difficult to detect. They can also use these currencies to purchase their various needs and this is the source of the greatest danger that these currencies pose as criminals can often escape punishment, therefore these cryptocurrencies will remain attractive especially to outlaws as large sums can be transferred from one account to another, kept in electronic form, and spent when needed, and their owners cannot be reached because their real addresses are withheld and their names are unknown.

According to the latest estimates, software theft and ransom schemes reaped nearly $370 million in cryptocurrency in 2020, more than threefold increase from the previous year. This number is expected to double this year.

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MP Hamad Al-Matar, or anyone else, did not find a way to attack me other than describing me as sectarian despite all my shortcomings; therefore, I will not give him the honor of replying.

e-mail: a.alsarraf@alqabas.com.kw

By Ahmad alsarraf