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.

Also read: Wave of Bitcoin-Seeking Bomb Threats Sparks Probe by Austrian Police

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