A Venezuelan merchant identified as Gustavo Torres González was murdered yesterday when his family failed to gather ransom money that kidnappers requested be paid in bitcoin. According to the local media, Torres was abducted on August 10 when he was presumably heading home in the Zulia state. The kidnappers quickly communicated with Torres’ family and asked to be paid 1.5 bitcoin to release him.
Kidnappers murder Torres after his family fails to pay ransom in bitcoin.
Torres’s family was not able to gather the funds, and in communications with the kidnappers, managed to lower the ransom to 0.5 bitcoin. Still, this was tragically a sum too hefty for his family to acquire, who only managed to gather 0.062 bitcoin ($2,750). Torres’s corpse was later discovered with six gunshot wounds on a local highway on August 11. Though the kidnappers explicitly stated they would only take the ransom money in bitcoin, Torres had no apparent relation with cryptocurrencies. He was the owner of a local ISP internet company in the area called Tutonet Investments.
Cryptocurrency-related crimes surge along with the popularity of digital assets.
The popularity of cryptocurrency in Venezuela has caused an increase in scams and crime using these new assets. Due to their innovative design, cryptocurrencies can sometimes be more difficult to track than money moved via traditional fiat avenues. Still, statistics show that the overwhelming majority of crimes are still conducted by way of fiat money and not cryptocurrencies. Kidnappers usually ask for the ransom to be paid in cryptocurrencies, so the authorities can not track the money trail easily. Most criminals still prefer cash, but the trend of use of cryptocurrencies in crimes has been increasing.