Bitcoin exchange manager Pavel Lerner kidnapped in Kiev
40-year-old Pavel Lerner, a prominent Russian blockchain expert and manager of the Exmo Bitcoin exchange, has been kidnapped in Kiev, Ukraine. Lerner was reportedly dragged into a black Mercedes-Benz by men covering their face with balaclavas after he left his office. Blockchain technology is a critical component of the digital currency Bitcoin. News of Lerner's abduction has shocked many in the global Bitcoin community.
Exmo website hacked soon after Lerner's abduction
Lerner has described himself as Exmo Finance's CEO. However, Exmo told reporters that he works as an analytics manager at the organization. Exmo has said it's doing everything possible to speed up the search for Lerner. Exmo's website experienced a Distributed Denial of Server (DDOS) cyber attack following news of Lerner's abduction, temporarily halting trading. However, Exmo has said Lerner's kidnapping wouldn't impact operations.
Bitcoin exchanges coming under attack amid increased valuation
The Exmo platform is used by 90,000 active users to trade cryptocurrencies. Criminal gangs are increasingly targeting cryptocurrency exchanges and digital wallets as the popularity and valuation of Bitcoin increases. This month witnessed two major hacks of profiles on currency exchanges. Hackers managed to steal nearly $70 million worth of Bitcoin from one attack.