Last week, Roger Ver–an American-born ex-pat living in Japan who’s long been at the heart of the worldwide bitcoin community–was contacted by a hacker who had seized control of his old Hotmail account and used it to nab his Social Security number, passport number, and other personal information. The hacker threatened to exploit this information unless Ver forked over about 37 bitcoins, the equivalent of $20,000. But then Ver used the same number of bitcoins to put out a bounty on the hacker, and this instantly transformed the brazen cyber criminal into a penitent stooge.
“Sir, I am sincerely sorry. I am just a middleman. I was being told what to tell you,” the hacker told Ver soon after the bounty was posted, before later asking: “Are you going to order a hitman to kill me now?”
Libertarians have long hailed bitcoin as a way to free the world from the control big government and big banks.