Netherlands Man Tortured with Drill for Bitcoin

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One advantage of Bitcoin over cash is that it is intangible. This makes robbery more complex. Rather than shooting up a bank or hijacking an armored truck, thieves must use digital expertise to find ways to steal bitcoins — usually.

A recent case in the Netherlands, however, is drawing attention — and making Bitcoin HODLers sit up and take notice. A local trader, identified as Tjeerd H., was brutally attacked in an attempt to steal his bitcoins, according to a local report.

The victim explained that a group of three masked men wearing police-issued bulletproof vests smashed down the door of his home. Initially, they threatened him with firearms but later turned to other more intense means.

His terrified four-year-old daughter watched as the men used a heavy drill to torture her father. For more than one hour, the assailants demanded access to the victim’s bitcoins. Reports do not indicate what he gave the attackers — if anything. However, rumor has it that they did not get the man’s coins. The group sped away in an Audi A6.

After the attack, the man spent time in the hospital for his injuries, which were serious, but has been released. He has not offered any further comment on the event. However, the North Netherlands police have assigned a group of 15 officers to find the attackers.

The fact that the man’s identity and location were known by the attackers adds an additional layer of complexity to the case. Bitcoin is not fully anonymous, as trades are generally associated with a wallet address. Because wallet addresses are alpha-numeric, they can be difficult to tie to a particular person or location.

When bitcoins are stolen through digital means, the wallet location of the bitcoins can often be found. However, linking the coins to a particular thief has proven incredibly difficult. Thus, the question remains over how the thieves were able to identify the victim. There may be more to the story as it unfolds.

The attack only increases the otherwise complex questions surrounding the protection of bitcoins. Digital thefts like the recent Zaif hack and inadvertent losses like the QuadrigaCX debacle are already concerning. The addition of a new means for stealing bitcoin, particularly associated with bodily injury, only increases concern.

Even as the report made news in the Crypto Twitter space, many were suggesting that owning a gun would have been wise for the trader. Of course, whether this would have solved the issues or not is unknown. Such violent attacks lend credence to the suggestion that the cryptocurrency sphere is not unlike the Wild West.

[bctt tweet=”Such violent attacks lend credence to the suggestion that the cryptocurrency sphere is not unlike the Wild West.” username=”beincrypto”]

Think attacks like this will increase or was there something more to the story than meets the eye? Let us know in the comments below! 


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With a background in science and writing, Jon's cryptophile days started in 2011 when he first heard about Bitcoin. Since then he's been learning, investing, and writing about cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology for some of the biggest publications and ICOs in the industry. After a brief stint in India, he and his family live in southern CA.

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