Law enforcement in Bulgaria has scored another win in the case for mainstreaming cryptocurrency. On the heels of government action across the globe, a team of three in Bulgaria has been arrested for schemes resulting in the illegal attainment of over $3 million worth of cryptocurrencies. Prosecutors have been tracking the team since June, according to a NextWeb article. Police investigating the racket “found a trove of passwords and private keys associated with various cryptocurrency exchange services and wallet providers.”
Local reports note that the criminals were using “innovative mechanisms, specialist software, and advanced knowledge in the area of cryptocurrency.” It also notes that it is believed these criminals were part of an organized criminal enterprise.
Earlier this month, the Phoenix Business Journal reported that a local man pled guilty to wire fraud relating to theft of cryptocurrency. According to federal prosecutors, while acting in his professional capacity, the man “misappropriated at least $600,000 of [his] firm’s bitcoin and litecoin cryptocurrency that was transferred to personal accounts for his own benefit, during a two-month period in fall 2017.”
After being fired, the man, Joseph Kim, was also accused of losing $545,000 of investor money while providing investors with fake account statements which showed gains while really taking significant losses. He was sentenced to 15 months in prison for the scheme after four victims testified in a Chicago court.
Also this month, in Turkey, we’ve seen the arrest of eleven men accused of hacking bitcoin wallets. These cases are important because they indicate that officials are beginning to understand and act on crypto malfeasance. Our industry is emerging into the mainstream, and as regulators continue to punish bad actors, the industry will grow stronger.
It’s true that the cryptocurrency industry has been on the receiving end of bad press, including for major hacks, thanks to the misdeeds of bad actors. But, it is also true that existing laws in the United States give regulators wide latitude to pursue those bad actors. Catching the bad guys is a fundamental requirement for business — all business — to succeed. Now is the time to double down on our collective efforts, through industry regulation and self-regulation, to clean up the image of an industry that most experts believe is a gamechanger within finance.