Another Wired interview has exposed the latest in what has shaped up to become the targeting of Bitcoin’s earliest adopters by extortionists.
Hal Finney, a prominent cryptographer, was one of Bitcoin’s earliest adopters, reaching out to Satoshi Nakamoto when he first launched his creation. Finney died this past August after a five-year battle with Lou Gehrig’s disease.
But for a year, an extortionist had demanded from Finney 1000 BTC, worth roughly $400,000. One morning, the Finneys had to evacuate their home after a SWAT team was maliciously called to it, the caller saying he had just murdered two people and was about to kill himself.
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FBI agents believe that Finney was just one of several victims of the extortionist. Roger Ver believes that he was targeted by the same individual who allegedly hacked into his e-mail account and demanded 37 BTC (worth approx. $20,000) under the threat of revealing Ver’s personal information. Ver refused and put a 37 BTC bounty on the extortionist’s head. On the Finney case, Ver said:
“The police have been devoting a huge amount of resources to track down peaceful people engaged in voluntary trade like Charlie Shrem and the operators of the Silk Road Market while evil hackers were busy terrorizing quadriplegic Hal Finney and his family.”
It is not known if the blackmailer is the same person as the alleged hacker into Satoshi Nakamoto’s e-mail account, offering to reveal secrets to the public for 25 BTC.