The New York Times explores the fraud involving Bitcoin, which the newspaper calls “the soaring, slightly scary virtual currency that has beckoned and bewildered people around the world.” Frauds involving such digital money have gone unchecked. Government authorities do not agree on which laws apply to Bitcoin — or even on what Bitcoin is.
The excitement over rapid ascent of Bitcoins has obscured the fraud, hacking and theft that have become an increasingly regular part of the virtual currency world and the lack of any visible response from law enforcement agencies. This has allowed more than 30 episodes in which at least 1,000 Bitcoins — or $1 million at the current rate of exchange — were stolen or transferred illegally, according to a frequently updated list on the most popular online forum for Bitcoin. Of those cases, 10 involved losses of more than 10,000 Bitcoins, or $10 million at the current value. Authorities have been publicly involved in one of these cases.