Local government premises in Japan have been hit by a flood of extortion attempts demanding bitcoin in recent months.
- According to a report by Japan Today on Monday, such threats have been received in at least 18 prefectures since July.
- The extortionists demand a payment in bitcoin to avoid the detonation of an explosive device, per the report.
- Austria has also suffered a spate of similar bomb threats, as CoinDesk reported back in August.
- Japan Post said city halls or schools have been the subject of the threats, receiving an email demanding varying amounts of bitcoin.
- In one case, in Yamagata City, the demand was for 40 bitcoin, worth over $454,000 at time of writing.
- The cases in Austria were demanding about $20,000 in bitcoin; prices were at slightly higher levels around $11,700 per bitcoin at the time.
- None of the Japanese victims have paid the extortionists, per Japan Today.
- Rather than choose major metropolitan centers, the attackers seem to be targeting local governments in rural areas, such as Sanjo, Niigata Prefecture; Tara, Saga Prefecture; and Minami, Tokushima Prefecture, among others.
- The report theorizes the extortion attempts are coming from outside of Japan, though there seems to be no evidence to back up the claim.