Though it is too early to directly link the abduction of Lerner ( crypto exchange director kidnapped ) to some crypto ransom scheme, he was abducted on December 26 in Kiev and driven off in a black Mercedes Benz Vito car by unknown people in black clothes according to strana.ua a local media site.
He was kidnapped in a street previously known as Moscow Prospect but renamed after the Median revolution in Ukraine in 2013. He is a 40-year-old Russian citizen with several crypto related startups in Ukraine and the managing director of a UK- based major cryptocurrency exchange company called EXMO.
EXMO pulls up to $93 M turnover in 24hrs and is a major exchange for converting Russian Rubble to Bitcoin. The exchange also offers a handful of privacy coins such as Monero, Zcash and some other Russian projects like KickICO and Kickcoin.
An investigation is currently on the way with no further information after more than 48 hours following his kidnap. It should be noted that crimes within the crypto space are now moving from online to offline and are also on the rise. In early December, a US man was robbed off his hardware wallet by an acquaintance at gunpoint and his Ethereum funds worth more than $1 M were stolen during the incident.
Do you think this is a ransom scheme? Do you also think given the increasing popularity of/and billions surrounding the crypto industry we can expect to see an increase in organised (offline) crimes as such?
Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.