February 27, 2018

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak’s bitcoin stolen in card payment scam

By Luke Christou

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has become the latest victim of cryptocurrency theft after he had his bitcoin stolen.

Speaking at the Economic Times of India’s Global Business Summit, Wozniak revealed that he had been scammed out of seven bitcoin tokens — worth around $75,000 — by an online thief posing as a genuine bitcoin buyer.

What was said:

Speaking at the summit, Wozniak said:

Somebody bought them from me online through a credit card and they cancelled the credit card payment. And it was from a stolen credit card number so you can never get it back.

The tech millionaire bought the cryptocurrency when the value of a bitcoin was around $700, meaning that he invested around $4,900 in total. However, at today’s price of around $10,700, seven bitcoin would be worth $74,900.

Speaking at the Nordic Business Forum last month Wozniak said:

I had bitcoin to experiment with and when it shot up high, I said ‘I don’t want to become one of those people that watches it, watches it and cares about the number. I don’t want that kind of care in my life.

Wozniak has since cashed out of the bitcoin market. He sold his remaining cryptocurrency late last year as the price peaked at close to $20,000.

Why it matters:

GlobalData analyst Sam Murrant previously told Verdict:

“Electronic fraud goes up because fraudsters go for whatever’s readily available. If cash use is rare, and it’s not accepted so much anymore, fraudsters have to move on to electronic payments.”

We are seeing a similar rise in bitcoin related crimes, as interest grows and its value climbs.

There have been a number of large-scale cryptocurrency exchange heists in recent years — $526 million was stolen from a South Korean exchange earlier this year in the biggest bitcoin heist to date.

According to the UK’s fraud and cybercrime agency Action Fraud, the number of reported bitcoin-related crimes tripled in 2017.

Background:

Bitcoin is a form of digital currency which doesn’t rely on a central authority such as a bank or payment platform to process payments.

The price of bitcoin has been up and down in recent months. The cryptocurrency climbed above $1,000 in February 2017, before increasing rapidly throughout the year.

The price peaked at $19,200 in December 2017 according to leading exchange Coinbase.

However, it fell to $7,200 earlier this month before returning to around $10,000.

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