Crypto-related crimes have been on the rise in Spain in recent times. The most recent incident is the case of a stolen Bitcoin ATM in Barcelona.
Bitcoin ATMs are kiosks that allow a person to purchase Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies by using cash or debit card. According to this website, Spain has the highest number of crypto ATMs in Europe. With 185 ATMs, it is also the fourth highest in the world.
Bitcoin ATM Theft
Local news reported on Friday that the Spanish police are investigating the theft of a Bitcoin ATM. The thieves stole the machine in a raid on a cryptocurrency exchange outlet in a wealthy Barcelona neighborhood.
The police force of Catalonia, Mossos d’Esquadra, said that the ATM theft happened around 3 a.m. They however did not provide any further information on the case to avoid hindering the investigation.
According to the news agency, police sources said thieves took the ATM from a shop on Beethoven street in the Sarria area. The area houses a branch of Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC). GBTC reportedly declined to comment, and the police also refused to confirm the exact location of the robbery.
An unverified video that surfaced showed an SUV crashing into the GBTC storefront. Afterward, some hooded people from another car made away with the ATM.
This incident is just the most recent of the bitcoin-related crimes in Spain. A few days ago, a Spanish techpreneur reported that he had been robbed. Zaryn Dentzel, the victim, is the co-founder of Tuenti, a Spanish social network-turned communications firm owned by Telefónica telecommunications company.
He claimed that four or five hooded people robbed him of millions of Euros worth of crypto from his house in Madrid. They blindfolded him, covered his home’s security cameras, and beat him up. He was then forced to give up the password to an online account containing his cryptocurrencies which held tens of millions of euros in Bitcoin. However, the thieves were unsuccessful in stealing any of his cryptos.
Crypto Crime On The Rise
Crypto attacks are hardly rare. They occur more frequently than most people think, mostly through hacks, phishing scams, ransom attacks, and fake advertisements.
A couple of the most popular attacks this year are the $600 million Poly Network attack and the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack.
According to the U.S. Treasury Department, the total value of suspected ransomware payments during the first half of 2021 was $590 million. Also, roughly $5.2 billion in outgoing BTC payments were tied to the top 10 ransomware variants over the past three years.
Many Bitcoin crimes have also been recorded in the U.K., Hong Kong, Australia, and New Zealand, to name a few.