Bitcoin ransoms just are not what they used to be
Give me bitcoin or your life. Seriously?
The people behind a rash of bomb threats made across the United States and Canada on Thursday demanded a $20,000 ransom to be paid in bitcoin. Authorities said none of the threats - emailed to hundreds of businesses, public offices and schools - appeared credible.
Frankly, the perpetrators would have been better off asking for Turkish lira.
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have long been a favorite ransom tender for cyber criminals thanks to the currencies` anonymous nature. U.S. cyber security firm Chainalysis estimates that from 2012 through 2017, global ransom payments using bitcoin totaled at least $31 million.
Anonymity aside, of course, the big appeal was an incredible run-up in bitcoin`s value over that time. It shot from $5 a coin at the start of 2012 to nearly $20,000 at this time last year, according to data from Bitstamp, one of the larger bitcoin exchanges.
Today? Not so hot.
Bitcoin on Thursday was trading at around $3,250, down more than 80 percent from its record high. In the last three months alone it has plunged 50 percent.