Dubai Police Recover $1.9 Million Taken In Bitcoin Heist Using AI Tech

Francisco Memoria
  • Police in Dubai managed to recover $1.9 million that were taken from two brothers who were looking to buy bitcoin.
  • The brothers were ttacked by a gang of 10 men. All of them were arrested within 48 hours of the incident.

Police in Dubai have recently been able to arrest ten gang members who reportedly stolen 7 million AED ($1.9 million) from two Asian brothers who were looking to buy bitcoin in the Al Muraqabbat area, according to news outlet Gulf News.

Per the news outlet’s report, the two brothers wanted to buy the flagship cryptocurrency, and were lured by some of the gang’s members to an office inside a market. In it, they were then assaulted, robbed at gunpoint, and threatened before being tied and locked inside said office. The assailants then fled the scene.

Lieutenant Colonel Adel Al Joker, Director of Dubai police's Criminal Investigation Department, stated:

"The brothers searched randomly in the market to buy Bitcoin. The gang lured them claiming they can sell them Bitcoin.”

Lieutenant Colonel Adel Al Joker

While six members were inside the office with the two brothers, three reportedly waited outside. The gang’s members managed to get access to the office by tricking its owner into believing they were going to buy it.

Per Dubai Police’s commander-in-chief, Major General Abdullah Khalifa Al Merri, the gang’s mastermind was identified within four hours of the incident, and his whole gang had reportedly been caught within 48 hours, as police quickly managed to locate them. The stolen funds were reportedly returned to the two victims.

Major General Khali Ebrahim Al Mansour, assistant commander-in-chief, revealed that the police’s success was partly driven by the data analysis center using smart programs and artificial intelligence technology to trace the gang’s members. He was quoted as saying:

“Using AI helped Dubai Police to arrest a Gulf National, who is the head of the gang, and other Asian suspects The information from the data analysis center helped the officers to arrest all gang members."

Major General Khali Ebrahim Al Mansour

Attacks in which criminals try to get bitcoin from their victims are seemingly increasing. As recently covered, two robbers used bear spray to steal from bitcoin ATMs in the United States earlier this month. CCTV footage of the robbery ended up on YouTube.

Could President Trump Ban Bitcoin? Experts Weigh In

  • Experts weigh in on the possibility of President Trump banning bitcoin.
  • Increasing concern over libra and large platform digital currencies is driving political agenda. 

Following last week’s attack on bitcoin and Facebook’s libra, experts have voiced their opinion on whether US President Donald Trump could realistically impose a ban on cryptocurrency. 

Not a Fan of Bitcoin

On July 11, President Donald Trump published a series of tweets attacking bitcoin and digital currencies, while championing the dollar. 

President Trump’s comments come in the midst of growing concern over Facebook’s libra, as political regulators around the world scramble to enact policies to deal with the rise of digital currencies. 

Members of the crypto community have questioned the impact of the US President taking an unfavorable stance towards bitcoin. Some crypto pundits predicted the tweets would be good for the price of BTC and ultimately increase exposure to cryptoassets. However, others worry that political influence may lead to a crackdown on cryptocurrency usage. 

Scenarios for Banning Crypto

Alex Kruger, economist and market analyst, published a tweet thread examining the legality and possibility of President Trump banning bitcoin. 

According to Kruger, It would be almost impossible for the US government to outlaw bitcoin as a technological instrument. Aside from the Herculean task of eradicating a decentralized, digital technology, bitcoin is code, which is protected under the first amendment.

However, that same protection is not extended to third-party operators, including cryptocurrency exchanges. 

Kruger quoted Abra CEO and Founder BIll Barhydt, who explained in a Forbes article how the government could target fiat onramps to exchanges, 

“You can’t prevent people from holding ones and zeroes on a device in their pocket. That ship has sailed. We already know that. The question is: What can they do at the edge of the network -- the onramps and offramps, the places where they exert control over the banking system, the exchanges, [and the] stablecoins.”

The US government could prevent retail investors from having access to crypto-assets through exchanges and prevent banks from allowing transfer of funds. Users would still be able to buy crypto through alternative channels, but the current ease of investing would be severely hampered. 

Unlikely, But Not Impossible

President Trump could also issue an executive order banning citizens from dealing in bitcoin, similar to the one he issued against the Petro. While there is a precedent for this route, Kruger claims the order could be easily overturned by Congress, 

Ultimately, Kruger believes that it is unlikley the President or Congress would move to ban bitcoin, and it would be difficult to enact fool-proof policy. However, it's worth considering the political landscape as regulatory concerns mount over Facebook's libra.

Just last week, a copy of a bill reportedly drafted by the House Financial Services Committee surfaced online, under the title "Keep Big Tech Out of Finance." The bill would put an end to Facebook and other large platforms from issuing digital currencies without incurring a severe penalty.

The same could be extended to bitcoin in the event the government finds crypto-assets no longer tolerable for the general public.