Criminals in Sweden have turned their sights on prominent bitcoin holders, sparking concern and fear in the community. Series of bitcoin robbery attacks have been reported in Sweden, suggesting a disturbing trend targeting individuals known for their bitcoin holdings due to the ease of access to personal information like address, name, etc.
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Bitcoin Robbery Attacks: Three Cases in the Past 12 Months
Over the past 12 months, three separate cases have been reported, all following a similar modus operandi. Swedish media outlet Aftonbladet reported that the robberies occurred in Rönninge and Södertälje, near Stockholm, almost in the same manner. The victims were tied up and physically abused, forcing them to give up their investments in bitcoin.
Eric Wall, a Swedish Bitcoin enthusiast who currently serves as a StarkNet Foundation board member, shared insights into these distressing events. According to the authorities, the latest robbery involved four masked criminals entering a middle-aged Swedish couple’s residence on Monday with the goal of stealing their bitcoin holdings.
Access to Official Documents is Responsible
Wall pointed out that these incidents were a direct result of Sweden’s Principle of Public Access to Information. It is based on the idea that all citizens have the right to access official documents held by public authorities. This principle is enshrined in the Swedish Constitution and the Freedom of the Press Act. As per Wall, this has enabled robbers to gain access to the personal information of the victims.
“This situation is occurring because in Sweden, you can easily search for any person’s residential address and drive straight to their house. If you’re curious, you can also search for their tax records, find out exactly how much they paid in income or capital gains tax, and size them up from that.”
Wall went as far as to claim that “Sweden is probably one of the least safe countries to be active in the cryptocurrency sector at the moment,” while adding that he has left the European country and won’t be back until the privacy laws are amended. The laws in Sweden allow notorious individuals to connect a person’s information with the bitcoin wallet, posing a significant risk.
It is crucial to note that each of the victims in the robberies had livestreamed a podcast about bitcoin or mentioned bitcoin in a public context days before their assault. Wall said that the members of the once vibrant digital asset community in Stockholm are living in fear following these events.
“The first time this happened was last year, when one of Sweden’s most well-known bitcoiners had criminals break into their apartment. […] That person gave up a significant amount of bitcoin. […] That person was scarred for months and largely withdrew from public life after the assault,” Hall pointed out.