Since July, numerous local government offices in at least 18 prefectures have been under siege by an online extortionist. In each case, the city hall or school would receive an email threatening to detonate an explosive unless a payment of Bitcoin was transferred to them.
The exact amount varied from email to email but one reported threat made to Yamagata City demanded 40 BTC. That has a current value of U.S.$536,000, but analysts are expecting a bull run on Bitcoin in the very near future which will drive its value up dramatically. So, it would appear the offender is adhering to the “ransom low, sell high” philosophy of trading.
At least it would if any of these extortion attempts actually paid out. Despite the large number of attempts, no victim has reported paying the money. While the Japanese government has actually been rather progressive with accepting cryptocurrencies in legislation, they have time and time again shown an overall lack of tech savvy.
And that’s the apex of government, which has not been reportedly hit by this spate of bomb threats. Instead, isolated cities in relatively rural areas such as Sanjo, Niigata; Tara, Saga; and Minami, Tokushima, to name a few, appear to be favored targets.
The person or persons behind this are still at large and reports of other local governments receiving email threats continue to come in as of this writing. It has left many wondering what is going on and why these criminals think they could possibly get Bitcoin out of municipal facilities.
“Last year I got a bunch of strange emails demanding Bitcoin. I wonder if it’s the same people?”
“Asahi City Hall was also threatened for Bitcoin, but they don’t have any Bitcoin in the first place.”
“There was a bomb threat in my area last week. I heard they demanded Bitcoin but no one paid and nothing happened. It’s pretty annoying.”
“My hometown got a threat. They probably want Bitcoin because it’s coming from outside the country.”
Although it’s not clear at this point, the theory that these emails are coming from abroad would certainly explain the choice in currency and lack of common knowledge about how behind the times Japanese bureaucracy can be.
Source: J-Cast News
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