A recent YouGov survey in the US said that 62% of respondents either had never heard of Bitcoins or believed they were used for criminal purposes.
These people are safe, not only from crypto kidnappers but also from Bitcoin’s dim future, if recent results are any indication.
First, can Bitcoin get you killed?
Bitcoin at ‘Point Blank’
Beside the fact that Bitcoin mining farms consume some 27 Terawatt-hours a year of electricity, as per MIT’s Scientific American, using 11 million tons of coal, and generating a lethal 27 million tons of CO2, owning Bitcoins can get you kidnapped at gunpoint.
Kidnappers in Ukraine recently released Pavel Lerner, a leading analyst and blockchain expert, an employee at EXMO Finance, a UK cryptocurrency exchange, after getting more than $1 million in bitcoins as ransom, Reuters reported.
He was was snatched and held for three days by an armed gang wearing ski masks near his office.
Instead of asking for easily traceable paper money, the kidnappers demanded to be paid $1 million worth of Bitcoins.
Armed robbers in New York held up a victim at gunpoint earlier in November to steal $1.8 million worth of virtual coins.
The assailant identified as Louis Meza allegedly had a gunman point a pistol at his friend’s head after luring him into a minivan and netted $1.8 million in cryptocurrency.
Last November, Turkish police captured a gang of crypto kidnappers targeting major Bitcoin holders, caught on their second attempt, having already extorted 450 Bitcoins, worth $3.3 million, from a wealthy businessman.
If you plan on making big money though with crypto currency, get a bodyguard, but also you need to see what’s hot and Bitcoin is not.
Bitcoin is not Stellar
Bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency by market cap at $232bn, has recently been behind its rivals’ quick ascendance to prominence.
Bitcoin sank to $13,880 on December 2, but recovered today to $15,000.
Crypto currency Stellar, whose coins are officially called lumens, or XLM, rose into the ranks of the 10 largest digital currencies and was eighth largest recently, according to CNBC.
“Digital currency Ethereum soared 17.5 last Tuesday to an all-time high, while Litecoin rallied 14%,” said CNBC.
“The hottest digital coin as 2018 kicks off is stellar, which has climbed more than 65% in one week reaching a market cap of $10bn, trading at 56.4 US cents,” CNBC said quoting CoinMarketCap.
CNBC explains that Stellar settles transactions in 2 to 5 seconds and allows users to quickly exchange government-backed currencies, such as turning U.S. dollars into euros.
Ripple riding the wave
Ripple, or XRP, climbed 36,000% to $2.30 last year and into second place by market capitalization.
According to CoinDesk data, the price of XRP is up over 1,000 percent in just the last month alone, eclipsing $3.50 per coin January 4 after spending much of 2017 under $0.30.
With a market capitalization above $120bn, the token has jumped ahead of Ethereum as the No. 2 cryptocurrency.
Like Stellar, Ripple’s focus is on payments.
Fortune magazine reports that the third largest cryptocurrency by market value, at $73bn market cap, Ethereum, soared to new records Jan 4, after an 8% rise in prices.
“For the first time ever, Ethereum prices rose above $1,000 per unit as investors look increasingly toward alternative currencies such as Ethereum, Ripple, and Litecoin,” said Fortune.
As of Friday Jan 5, the value was at 1008.
Litecoin becoming a heavyweight
On January 5, 2018, Litecoin was worth $244, witnessing a meteoric year that saw its price rise from $4.33 at start 2017, and has a market cap of $13bn (8th-9th place)
Litecoin’s coin limit is four times the size of bitcoin: 84 million versus 21 million.
It was designed to make transactions faster and easier; it takes about a quarter of the time to generate a litecoin block as it does one for the leading digital currency Bitcoin.