In recent months, the world has witnessed a series of shocking and gruesome deaths connected to the world of cryptocurrency. From the decomposing remains of United States crypto mogul Christian Peev found in Sofia, Bulgaria, to missing millionaire Fernando Pérez Algaba discovered in a river in Buenos Aries, these cases are just the tip of the iceberg. Ken Gamble, co-founder and executive chairman of financial crime intelligence firm IFW Global, believes that these deaths are linked to the rise of organized crime and money laundering using crypto. According to Gamble, crypto-related crime has become bigger than ever before, with money laundering using cryptocurrency now being the number one method for organized crime groups worldwide.
Gamble explains that organized crime groups, particularly those from China, have accumulated significant wealth through cryptocurrency. With this newfound wealth, these criminal organizations have expanded their money laundering capabilities and have reached out to more groups and individuals to move their money. This broadening of connections has increased the chances of crypto holders unknowingly getting involved with dangerous criminals. As a result, they become targets of violence and crime related to their cryptocurrency holdings.
Retribution and Revenge
Matt Hussey, former editorial director of Near Protocol and founder of crypto media firm Decrypt, offers a different perspective on the murders. He suggests that some of these killings are the result of disgruntled investors taking matters into their own hands. Hussey blames the “fuzzy area” in which crypto operates, straddling both the legal and illegal worlds. Due to the perception that law enforcement does not actively pursue crypto crimes, individuals may resort to revenge as the only recourse available to them.
Easy Money and Targets
The allure of easy money is another factor contributing to the rise in crypto-related deaths. With the ability to move and steal cryptocurrency easily, individuals holding significant amounts of crypto become attractive targets for criminals. Unlike traditional banking systems where stealing money directly is challenging, stealing crypto through violent means provides criminals with a greater chance of success. The ease of access and potential anonymity surrounding crypto make it an attractive choice for criminals.
Another plausible explanation for the increase in reported crypto deaths is the rise in mainstream media coverage of the cryptocurrency industry. Prior to November 2022, mainstream media reported less than one crypto-related death per year. However, following the collapse of the FTX crypto exchange, the number surged to at least 10 reported deaths. This coincided with a spike in coverage of cryptocurrencies by traditional media outlets. The attention given to deaths related to the shady world of crypto can be enticing for news desks, leading to increased reporting.
A Diverse Range of Factors
It is important to note that not all reported deaths are directly linked to crypto or involve criminal activities. Out of the 10 reported deaths since November 2022, only one was directly connected to the victim’s involvement in the crypto industry. Moreover, none of the reports mentioned stolen cryptocurrencies as motives for the crimes. Additionally, not all deaths were treated as potential homicides.
The Future of Cryptocurrency
As the world of cryptocurrency continues to evolve and gain mainstream attention, it is crucial to address the dark side of this digital currency. Increased awareness, regulation, and efforts to combat money laundering and organized crime are necessary to ensure the safety and security of individuals involved in the crypto space. Building a transparent and trustworthy environment is essential for the long-term viability and acceptance of cryptocurrency.
The rise of crypto-related deaths is a troubling development that highlights the potential dangers associated with the world of cryptocurrency. The involvement of organized crime, the allure of easy money, and the lack of clear regulations all contribute to this dark side of crypto. As the industry continues to grow, it is imperative to address these issues and ensure a safer and more secure future for those involved in the world of cryptocurrency.