In a recent publication for Daily Trust, Nigerian politician Dr. Umar Ardo explained that he was forced to pay a fifteen thousand dollars (USD 15,000) ransom in Bitcoin, to secure the release of his daughter from kidnappers.
Last week, Dr. Ardo’s daughter Amado was forcefully kidnapped at gunpoint, while she was walking around a shopping center in the Asokoro District.
What is impressive about this case is that it is one of the first reported cases where kidnappers demand payment in the form of Bitcoins. This was a specific requirement set by the criminals, who explicitly demanded payment in the popular cryptocurrency, in order to return Dr. Ardo’s daughter in full health.
Why a ransom in Bitcoin?
According to investigators, one of the main reasons why the kidnappers demanded payment in Bitcoin, is for their identities to remain hidden.
Sending and receiving funds via Bitcoin is completed through anonymous wallet addresses, which guarantees the criminals their security.
Unfortunately, cases like the one with Dr. Ardo’s daughter have been undermining the usefulness and validities of cryptocurrencies for quite some time now.
While there are undeniable benefits to cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, the fact that they allow users to remain anonymous has made many world leaders express concerns when it comes to security.
A famous example is one of United States President Donald Trump’s tweets about cryptocurrency:
I am not a fan of Bitcoin and other Cryptocurrencies, which are not money, and whose value is highly volatile and based on thin air. Unregulated Crypto Assets can facilitate unlawful behavior, including drug trade and other illegal activity….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 12, 2019
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have indeed been used for unlawful activities like drug sales and ransom requests. However, with the introduction of more detailed regulation, criminals are starting to have limited opportunities to use cryptocurrencies to their benefit.