South Africa: Kidnappers Demand Bitcoin Ransom for Missing Nine-Year-Old

Criminals in South Africa have recently sent an anti-crime website and social media group an anonymous message demanding a 5 BTC ransom ($19,200) to return a missing nine-year-old girl.

The admin of the anti-crime group Western Cape Gangwatch reportedly received the anonymous message via an email that claimed that, in order to find the missing nine-year-old, the group was to send 5 BTC to a specific address within 48 hours, or communication would cease.

Gangwatch, an organization that reportedly regularly cooperates with law enforcement agencies in the country, is said to have attempted to trace the email, but was unable to. Speaking to local news outlet IOL, a spokesperson for the group stated:

We are trying to track it via the Bitcoin code, but believe the email the person is using was probably created at an internet cafe, which automatically deletes it and there is no IP address available either.

By “Bitcoin code” the spokesperson was presumably referring to the bitcoin address, which is available to the public on the cryptocurrency’s blockchain. At press time, the address given by the kidnappers has only received 0.0168 BTC on December 31, an amount that was moved shortly after being received.

The funds were then moved to an address that has received over 120 BTC, but has moved all of it and has been reported as fraudulent two times. From that point on, the funds appear to have been sent to a cryptocurrency exchange.

Gangwatch’s spokesperson added that those responsible for the crime will “hopefully realize the family’s circumstances and realize they cannot keep the girl for a lengthy period.” Speaking to the publication Candice Sobotker, from the Western Cape Missing Persons unit, added that the search for the girl, Linathi Titshala, is still ongoing.

We are pooling all resources including doing a search again in the coming week.

Detailing what happened the girl’s grandmother, Nabantu Matanzima, noted she slept at her home after a party and was then sent to her house, which was two doors away, on December 16. Since then, she hasn’t been seen.

Cryptocurrency-related crime seemingly isn’t new in the country. Last year the country’s authorities were investigating an $80 million bitcoin Ponzi scheme that collapsed after its founder disappeared. Notably, a survey has found that 60% of South Africans were “not aware” of cryptocurrencies as of July of last year.

Bitcoin Won't Hit $100,000 in the Next Bull Run, Analysts Predict

Francisco Memoria

Two popular cryptocurrency analysts have weighed in on the price of the flagship cryptocurrency bitcoin and made it clear they believe BTC won’t hit $100,000 in the next bull run.

In an episode of “Trading Bitcoin,” Tone Vays and the pseudonymous trader Filbfilb debated the cryptocurrency’s price performance and the current state of the market. Both analysts agreed that the cryptocurrency has to break specific targets in the near future to keep moving up, with Vays pointing to $10,450 and Filbfilb pointing to $11,500.

CryptoCompare data shows that bitcoin’s price hit a high of $10,480 this month but was quickly rejected off of that zone, dropping to a $9,460 low before it started recovering again. At press time, one bitcoin is trading at $9,700.

bitcoin price chartSource: CryptoCompare

Both analysts also dug into the next bull run Bitcoin is going to go through. They agreed hype surrounding Bitcoin’s halving event, which will cut block rewards in half to 6.25 BTC per block, is fueling price action so far this year.

Bitcoin has been through two halving events so far and its price surged after both, as the supply of new BTC entering the market drops while demand has kept on growing. Some believe the cryptocurrency could hit $100,000 over the halving event, but both Vays and Filbfilb seemed to believe this is an overly bullish prediction.

Instead, Vays said he’s looking for BTC to hit a $45,000 high, while Filbfilb argued the $60,000 mark would be a crucial one. He said:

I think we’re going to struggle to get past $60,000. I think $60,000 is going to be a really, really troublesome level to get across. I’ll certainly be looking to book in some serious profits at that point.

As CryptoGlobe reported various industry personalities have been making notable price predictions over the last few weeks. Max Keiser, who claims to have predicted BTC would hit $100,000 in 2012, changed his prediction to $400,000.

Thomas Lee, co-founder, managing partner, and head of research at the research boutique Fundstrat Global Advisors, claimed in an interview he believes bitcoin could see an almost 100X increase in price if it got to five million users.

Featured image via Unsplash.