Physical Assaults on Cryptocurrency Owners on the Rise

A GitHub directory lists over 30 physical attacks targeting crypto owners; creator claims rate of assaults is accelerating.

The frequency of physical assault crimes against cryptocurrency owners is accelerating, according to crypto enthusiast Jameson Lopp. He has cataloged 23 known attacks in a dedicated GitHub directory. The incidents range from aggravated assault to theft of ATM machines, and even kidnappings and armed home invasions.

“To help keep track of the dynamic security landscape for crypto asset owners, I've started an open source repository to catalog physical attacks. Please contribute additions and corrections,” said Lopp in a tweet. At the time of the writing of this article, the list had expanded to  include 31 incidents.

Lopp later shared his thoughts on Twitter, noting that 10 of those crimes happened in the past six months. “Seems to be strong evidence that the rate of these attacks is accelerating,” said Lopp.

This sparked a heated discussion on the platform, with numerous users sharing their personal experiences on the attacks. “Was held hostage for a few hours in China,” says one user, before sharing what seems to be a police report written in Chinese.

“Kyiv is mentioned only once,” says another user, “there were at least 3 already described publicly.”

The catalog includes incidents from various countries, including United Arab Emirates, Taiwan, Ukraine and even Iceland. Of the 31 attacks, ten occurred within the United States. The earliest record on the list is from December 2014, while the most recent dates from July 6, 2018. All cataloged incidents include sources.

Lopp later went on to tweet a case in which the victim successfully defended repelled the attacker. “Of the 28 documented physical attacks against bitcoin owners, only 1 target has successfully […] stopped the attacker.”

As this is the first organized effort to catalog cryptocurrency-related assaults and attacks, crypto-enthusiasts are a common target of fraudsters and hackers. In March, Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, revealed he lost seven BTC to a scammer due to his gullibility. “Somebody bought them from me online through a credit card and they canceled the credit card payment,” said Wozniak. “It was that easy!”