The stealing of cryptocurrency takes place all around the world in different formats and for different reasons. These range from the use of malware to cryptojack on people’s computers to the hacking of exchanges to the stealing of cryptocurrency from others’ wallets. To an extent, this is inevitable for as long as money exists in one form or the other, there will be those who want to steal it for whatever reason. However, the digital nature of cryptocurrency and the complexities of certain tokens such as Monero make crypto susceptible to theft in a way that fiat currency simply is not.
On December 22, 2019, a French tech entrepreneur was indicted by the courts in Paris for charges of theft, money laundering and fraudulently accessing data processing systems after he apparently stole €1 million in bitcoin from his former colleagues in what many believe to be an act of revenge.
The man in question had joined a tech start-up in France in 2013 and stole the bitcoins apparently to cover up the humiliation of his redundancy. Apparently, they were disputes about strategies to be employed at the firm and he found himself removed as a result of this. He then immigrated abroad for other work purposes but instead turned to a bitcoin hacker. His former colleagues noticed over time that their bitcoin holdings were reducing.
The work carried out by his former colleagues involves cryptocurrency to a degree and this was essential in catching him. Apparently, he had made sure to only withdraw amounts that were just below the threshold of what would trigger the security warning and this sort of information about cryptocurrency and security tipped off investigators that a former employee would likely be behind the crimes. The crimes in the question took place between December 2018 and January 2019 and after reporting to the Gendarmerie’s cybercrime division (C3N), several months of investigations took place.
Following the hacker’s return to France, he was arrested with his computer and private key seized and his stolen funds also confiscated by the authorities. The case is still unfolding as of now.