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Bitcoin Extortion Racket: Amsterdam Business Owners Threatened with Grenades if They Don’t Pay Up


In a strange string of incidents, businesses in Amsterdam have received email threats of armed attacks if they don’t shell out 50,000 euros in Bitcoin.

Businesses Receive Threatening Emails

Multiple business owners in the capital city of the Netherlands have received emails threatening them with grenade attacks or shootings if they fail to pay 50,000 euros in bitcoins to the sender.

According to the NLTimes, the police have confirmed multiple instances of such emails and that they are investigating the matter.

It is reported that at least three coffee shops and Club ABE on Amstelstraat received the email. The email refers to the city’s policy of shutting down a business in case an explosive is found or an incident of a shooting occurs on the premises.

Amsterdam, Netherlands

The Content of the Email

The threatening email reads:

You probably noticed how many entrepreneurs have had to close their doors recently by order of the municipality. To prevent you from being the next one, you must immediately take action.

The receiver is instructed to create an account on coinmama.com or coinbase.com, buy 50,000 euros worth of Bitcoin, and send it to the specified address. The email further says, “After that you will never hear from us again.”

The email goes on to mention that the amount doubles if the business owner fails to pay within a week, stating:

If we do not receive the amount of 100k within 5 days, we will make sure that you can close your doors. This can be done by shooting a bullet into your facade or tying a grenade to the front door.

It further threatens:

If we find out that you have filed a report or shared this message with someone else, we will immediately ensure that you can close the doors for at least 3 months. As soon as you get permission again from the municipality to open your doors, we will come again unless you pay 200k.

A new Bitcoin extortion scheme has popped up in Amsterdam.

Response by the Businesses

Club ABE received the email earlier in May and last year in August had already faced an incident of a hand grenade tied to the club’s door. The co-owner of the club reportedly said, “It could be that the same person or group is involved, but there’s no clarity on that.” He then added, “The detective told us that the mail was known to them, so we were not the first. We did not pay.”

A lawyer representing many coffee shops in the city said that usually the business owners don’t take such emails seriously but are obligated to report them to the mayor. Stating that none of the businesses paid the extortion demand, he mentioned that there have been no incidents though.

According to the mayor, the municipality has recently changed its policy of closing a business in case of a shooting or detection of an explosive.

Apparently, there have been multiple cases of explosives going off or being found in the city since the beginning of last year.

While these email incidents seem the handiwork of some mischievous elements, it does bring forth the fact that cryptocurrencies can still be a  popular choice with some criminals. Still, the vast,vast majority of Bitcoin transactions are for perfectly legitimate reasons.

What are your thoughts about these incidents? Let us know in the comments below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

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