GRAND THEFT CRYPTO Bitcoin biggest-ever heists: From the ‘Cryptoqueen’ who scammed the world to China’s £2.2billion ‘Ponzi bandits’

GRAND THEFT CRYPTO Bitcoin biggest-ever heists: From the ‘Cryptoqueen’ who scammed the world to China’s £2.2billion ‘Ponzi bandits’

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CRYPTO crime has seen billions of pounds worth of cash scooped up by hackers and scams - and for many there is no way to get it back.

Bitcoin and other digital currencies are all vulnerable to attack unless investors take belt and braces steps to keep their fortunes safe.

North Korean hackers, a pair of "billionaire" brothers and infamous scammer known as the "Cryptoqueen" are just some of the most notorious heists and thefts which have hit the burgeoning world of crypto.

Financial experts always urge users to invest wisely and safely should they decide to get involved in the often tumultuous world of the booming electronic cash.

And with the currencies' values rocketing over the last few years, hackers and fraudsters are believed to be more active to exploit the boom.

Atlas VPN estimates some $10million in crypto is stolen every single day - and the crypto crime industry is worth billions.

The Sun Online can reveal these are some of the biggest and most extraordinary Bitcoin and crypto heists of all time.


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Bitcoin traders Raees Cajee, 21 and Ameer, 18, fled South Africa in April after telling investors their company, Africrypt, had been hacked and all its funds stolen.

The two have been accused of carrying out one of the biggest Bitcoin heists in history, making off with £2.5billion of the crypto. 

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal from a secret location, Raees categorically denied any wrongdoing and said they were forced to flea due to "death threats" from "organised crime syndicates".

The brothers also claim their company never had £2.5billion in Bitcoin and that no more £3.6million had gone missing.

They've both promised to cooperate in future enquiries and are reportedly preparing a dossier that proves their innocence.

And the alleged rogue traders have now reportedly bought citizenship on the remote tropical paradise of Vanuatu.


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Dr Ruja Ignatova persuaded millions to purchase her new crypto currency "OneCoin" - something which she dubbed the "Bitcoin Killer" in 2014.

She boasted it was faster, cheaper and more secure than its rival - with people from 175 countries signing up to get rich quick.

Despite the promises of riches however, OneCoin is believed to be a giant ponzi scheme which sucked in some $4billion from unwitting customers.

With no blockchain set up - the digital ledger that acts the foundation to manage crypto - the coin was worthless.

It is one of a number of failed crypto currencies - if it was ever meant to be a success.

The so-called "CryptoQueen" remains on the run - and her brother Konstantin in 2019 pleaded guilty to fraud and money laundering in connection with the scheme.


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North Korea is suspected to have carried out around $2billion worth of crypto hacks as they scoop up the coins to prop up Kim Jong-un's failing state.

Kim's hacker unit - known as the Lazarus Group - are suspected to have stolen $275million from cryptocurrency exchange KuCoin, in what was the biggest crypto crime of 2020.

Bitcoin, Ethereum and other coins were all snatched by the group which is believed to funnel the cash back to the North Korean state.

Cyber crime is becoming a key part of Kim's economy as he attempts to keep the money flowing so he can develop nukes.

Chainalysis was able to attribute the KuCoin hack to the North Korean hacking group by looking at how the stolen funds were laundered - describing it as like finding "fingerprints".

KuCoin has around six million registered users, and the attack highlights the risk of using digital exchanges to store your crypto.


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KuCoin is just one of many exchanges to have been breached by cyber criminals who consider them targets for a potentially major haul of treasure.

Japanese exchange Coincheck was breached to the tune of some $532million in 2018 in a suspected attack by Russian hackers who used malware to infect employees' laptops.

And meanwhile Mt. Gox - a giant exchange once handling 70 per cent of all Bitcoin transactions - saw some 850,000 Bitcoins, now worth $3.2billion, stolen in 2014.

The firm has been wrapped in legal proceedings ever since, and less than 200,00 of the coins have ever been recovered.

Meanwhile, Bitfnex saw 120,000 Bitcoin stolen in 2016, while NiceHash lost 4,700 Bitcoin in 2017 and Binance lost 7,000 coins in 2019.

ExpressVPN urges investors to "never" store their coins with an exchange, warning: "Bitcoin likely still will be around in five to ten years, but the exchange of your choice might not."


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China convicted the ringleaders of a gang who are believed to have defrauded investors out of $2.2billion worth of Bitcoin and other crypto using the scam "PlusToken".

Some 14 people were held over the scheme which urged users to hand over their crypto as a "joining fee".

The platform had no actual function at all - and users money was simply used to make themselves rich.

Gang leaders reportedly sold off some of the crypto to buy themselves luxury cars and properties, reports Bloomberg.

Chinese authorities reportedly managed to recover around 200,000 Bitcoin and more than 800,000 Ethereum.

Beijing has been cracking down on the use and mining of crypto currencies, which has been linked to 2021's wild fluctuations of the market's value.

What is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is a virtual currency that was created in 2009 by an unknown computer whizz using the alias Satoshi Nakamoto.

Unlike physical currencies such as pounds, dollars or euros, which come in physical notes and coins, Bitcoin isn’t printed or minted.Instead, Bitcoin tokens are a digital-only form of payment and are created by a computer code.The value of Bitcoin is determined by how much people are willing to exchange it for and its price has fluctuated wildly since it was introduced.

It’s currently valued at around $38,132.Last year, the currency was around the $23,000 mark – but in April this year it reached record highs of above $62,000 at the beginning of April.Since then, it has seen regular slumps – eventually dropping to its current price.Some of the biggest falls came when Elon Musk withdrew his support and Beijing announced its ban.


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