Breaking Story: Bitcoin Scammers Email Bomb Threats, Causing Evacuations Across The U.S.

Kevin O'Brien

Numerous evacuations have taken place across the United States on December 13th after scammers sent bomb threat emails demanding bitcoin payment to a number of businesses, companies, schools, and other entities, according to reports.

No Evidence of Explosives Yet

As of press time, authorities indicated there is not any evidence so far of any explosives detonating or actually being placed. However, police are asking people to remain vigilant as they work through the threats.

It is not yet clear how far the email threat has spread, but law enforcement in numerous jurisdictions across the country have released statements on social media and other outlets about the situation.

The Federal Bureau Of Investigation said it is aware of the threats and remains in contact with law enforcement across the country.

 

 

Speculation is the messages are robo-emails that were sent out in a group. The New York Police Department indicated on Twitter how it looks like they were sent to “cause disruption and/or obtain money."

 

 

Bomb Threats Asking For $20,000 In Bitcoin

A number of people on Twitter posted screenshots of the threatening email sent by the bitcoin scammers.

 

 

The email is printed in an article by Heavy.com.

It begins declaring that “my mercenary” has placed a bomb in “the building where your business is conducted” that would wound many people upon detonation.

In order to “call off my man,” a payment of $20,000 in bitcoin must be made to an address listed in the message. The scammer says the guarantee to not detonate “will become valid only after 3 confirmations in blockchain.”   

Different Versions Of The Messages

According to The Verge, there seem to be multiple versions of the email, some of which list a different type of explosive material.

The actual bitcoin wallet also looks to vary across messages. The Verge also wrote that it was able to confirm at least three wallets. It is not yet clear if anyone has actually paid the ransom. 

CNBC’s Brian Kelly Explains the ‘Huge Difference’ Between Libra and Bitcoin

On Tuesday (June 18), the day that Facebook unveiled Libra, its new global cryptocurrency,  CNBC's Brian Kelly, who is also the founder and CEO of crypto hedge fund BKCM LLC, explained the "huge difference" between Libra, which he thinks of as digital fiat, and Bitcoin, which he thinks of as digital gold, and said that this was the reason that he does not consider Libra to be a real cryptocurrency.

In a segment titled "Facebook Goes Full Crypto" on CNBC's "Fast Money" show, the host, Melissa Lee, asked Kelly to explain why he does consider Facebook's Libra to be a real cryptocurrency (like Bitcoin or Litecoin).

Kelly started his "crypto class" with a super simple explanation of how Libra works from the point of view of a user:

  • You exchange some of your local fiat currency (say, dollars) for Libra tokens
  • You can then pay for goods/services using your Libra tokens
  • Whenever you want, you can convert some/all of your Libra tokens back to fiat currency

This all sounds fine, but Kelly says that one unspoken truth here is that as a user you need to trust the Libra Association to do everything behind-the-scenes correctly and honestly. In contrast, he says, a real cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin, is trustless. As Satoshi Nakamoto explained in the Bitcoin white paper (which is titled: "Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System"), Bitcoin is "an electronic payment system based on cryptographic proof instead of trust, allowing any two willing parties to transact directly with each other without the need for a trusted third party."

According to Kelly, the main difference between Libra and Bitcoin is that Libra is trying to be essentially digital fiat (although he used the term "digital dollar" because he was addressing mainly a U.S. audience) and so it has all the "characteristics" of traditional fiat currencies, whereas Bitcoin is "digital gold" (and it is "probably a lot better than gold") and unlike Libra does not need a trusted third party, and to him "trustlessness" is what makes crypto "revolutionary". He said that this is why we can say that Libra "keeps the existing system" while Bitcoin "does away with it."

Kelly went on to say that Libra is not substantially different from systems such as PayPal or Venmo; it's the "next iteration of them". 

Meanwhile, David Marcus, who is the Co-Creator of the Libra currency and the Head of the Calibra project (a custodial wallet for Libra) at Facebook, thinks that it is wrong to compare Libra and Bitcoin since they do not belong to the same category:

One of the people who replied to Marcus' tweet was Dr. Saifedean Ammous, an economics professor and the author the book "The Bitcoin Standard":

 

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