Spate of Bitcoin Extortion Bomb Threats Hits Government, Schools in Japan

The extortionists demand a payment in bitcoin to avoid the detonation of an explosive device, per a report.

AccessTimeIconOct 12, 2020 at 10:20 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 10:07 a.m. UTC
10 Years of Decentralizing the Future
May 29-31, 2024 - Austin, TexasThe biggest and most established global hub for everything crypto, blockchain and Web3.Register Now

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.


Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.

Learn more about Consensus 2024, CoinDesk's longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to to register and buy your pass now.