Last month, Bulgarian plumbers were called to clear a blocked drain at an apartment block in Sofia. However, they discovered the decomposing remains of 41-year-old United States crypto mogul Christian Peev, who was suspected to have been murdered by a friend out of jealousy. In another case, the dismembered body of missing cryptocurrency millionaire Fernando Pérez Algaba was found in a suitcase by children in Argentina, pointing to organized crime involvement. These incidents are part of a larger trend of crypto-related deaths occurring over the past 10 months.
According to Ken Gamble, co-founder and executive chairman of financial crime intelligence firm IFW Global, the rise of organized crime and money laundering using cryptocurrency is likely responsible for many of these deaths. He states that crypto-related crime has become bigger than ever before, with money laundering using cryptocurrency being the number one method for organized crime groups worldwide. These groups, particularly those from China, have amassed large sums of money and now need to expand their money laundering capabilities, leading them to involve crypto holders in their activities.
Matt Hussey, former editorial director of Near Protocol, suggests that some of the killings may be the result of disgruntled investors seeking revenge due to the ambiguous nature of the crypto industry. As crypto operates in a legal and illegal gray area, some individuals may take matters into their own hands when they feel wronged. There have been cases of abductions, beatings, and even murders related to failed crypto investment schemes or scams.
The ease with which crypto can be stolen or moved also makes crypto holders easy targets for criminals. Rich crypto millionaires are seen as vulnerable in a time when the cost of living is rising. Criminals can easily steal credentials and access someone’s crypto funds if they have their passphrase or pack their laptop.
However, it is important to note that not all reported deaths are directly linked to crypto or criminal activity. Only one of the reported deaths was directly connected to the victim’s involvement in crypto, and there have been no reports of stolen cryptocurrency in these cases. It is possible that the increase in reported deaths is simply due to more mainstream media coverage of the crypto industry.
In conclusion, the rise in crypto-related deaths may be attributed to the involvement of organized crime and money laundering, as well as the potential for revenge from disgruntled investors. Crypto holders are seen as easy targets, and the media’s increased focus on the crypto industry may contribute to the perception that these deaths are more prevalent than they actually are.