A Bitcoin for cash deal in Nice, France went sour when the seller of EUR 2 million (USD 2.3 million) of Bitcoins was given counterfeit EUR 500 notes that were crude and photocopied, instead of real cash.
A South Korean businessman who works in Singapore was approached by a Serbian who said he wanted to invest in the businessman’s company. Eventually, the negotiations resulted in an agreement to trade EUR 2 million of Bitcoins for cash. They met in Nice, France in July 2018 when the fraudulent transaction took place.
Peer-to-peer Bitcoin trading on sites like Localbitcoins and Bitcointalk has been popular since the early days of Bitcoin. It used to be the best way to buy or sell Bitcoin but now Bitcoin ATMs and easier crypto exchange options are proliferating, massively decreasing the need for peer-to-peer Bitcoin trading. Bitcoin was built for peer-to-peer transactions. Other online methods can be reversed and methods involving banks can be frozen or reversed.
Unfortunately, counterfeiters are targeting the peer-to-peer Bitcoin trade. Bitcoin traders might not use proper methods to test cash, especially when a deal involves such a large amount of cash and might be unaware that receiving counterfeit notes is a serious risk.
That’s exactly what happened in this case. The person who robbed the Bitcoin trader was living it up in luxury in the French Riviera at a top end hotel. Fortunately, in this case, the counterfeiter was tracked down, although if the Bitcoin had already been spent, the victim would face a difficult task getting it back.
In most cases where Bitcoin traders are robbed, either with counterfeits, by trickery, or by force, the criminal is usually not tracked down. Peer-to-peer platforms could still be the best alternative, as platforms like Localbitcoins and Bisq use escrow services that only release Bitcoins to the buyer after the seller confirms legitimate payment.
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