The anonymity of bitcoin, the largest
cryptocurrency, has made it a darling of criminals and the
so-called dark web.
The Italian mafia has used bitcoin
to launder money for its illicit activities, for instance,
and the notorious WannaCry hackers
extorted over $140,000 worth of the cryptocurrency from their
And the reported kidnapping of a 20-year old mother might provide
the latest example of bitcoin being used for nefarious purposes.
Chloe Ayling, a British glamour model, says she was tricked into
going to Italy last month for a photo shoot set up by Polish gang
members, as reported by
Business Insider’s Kieran Corcoran. Those criminals,
according to Ayling, kidnapped her when she arrived in Milan in
order to auction her off
on the dark web as a sex-slave. Ayling told police her
captors ultimately let her go after they discovered from
her Instagram profile she was a new mother, according to
Corriere Della Sera, Italy’s second largest newspaper.
Ayling told Corriere Della Sera that her abductors could
have sold her for at least $300,000 in bitcoin. Here’s
what she said over the weekend:
I shouldn’t have been caught, as their boss had seen some
of my Instagram photos where it was clear that I’m a mom with a
child, and that’s against the organization, which operates on the
deep web dealing with various crimes, from drug dealing to hits;
auctions for kidnapped girls apparently start at $300,000 worth
Authorities arrested one person, Lukasz Herba, a Polish man who
lives in the UK, in Italy in connection to the kidnapping case,
the Daily Mail, a UK newspaper. Authorities in Britain,
Italy, and Poland are investigating further.
Since transactions on bitcoin’s blockchain network are
decentralized and anonymous, the cryptocurrency provides an
attractive option for criminals looking to conduct business
outside of the watchful eye of government officials.