Welcome back to Insider Weekly, a rundown of some of our top reads of the week. I’m Matt Turner, the editor-in-chief of business at Insider.
Stumbling out of a party for the Bitcoin conference, an entrepreneur hopped into what he thought was an ordinary cab.
Intoxicated, he handed over his phone when the driver asked for help with directions. Then the driver started asking for his phone PIN. It slowly dawned on the passenger that he was being driven in the opposite direction of his hotel.
This real-life anecdote, described in a story by Rob Price published this week, reads like the opening scenes of a network crime thriller. Ultimately the entrepreneur was able to escape the precarious situation: He persuaded the driver to temporarily pass his phone back and jumped out of the car at a red light, finding his phone had been disabled.
But the experience was a powerful reminder of the vulnerability of the entrepreneur’s crypto wealth. He told Rob that had the driver accessed his on-phone crypto wallet, “he could’ve stolen enough for a house payment.”
Many aren’t so lucky. Rob’s story describes a wave of crime targeting wealthy crypto owners, including kidnappings, torture, and even murder. Security experts warn such cases are likely to become even more common. Read on for a Q&A with Rob on his reporting.
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Our correspondent Rob Price takes us inside his reporting on the rise of violent crypto robberies.
What got you thinking about crypto-related robberies?
I got chatting with an entrepreneur who was nearly abducted after a night out in Miami at a bitcoin conference, and he mentioned that had his assailant accessed his crypto wallet, he could have stolen enough for a house payment — with no way to get it back. I started digging in to see if this had happened to anyone else, and I found an epidemic of crime.
As crypto becomes more mainstream, what are owners doing to protect themselves?
Some wealthy crypto owners are taking the threat of physical crimes like kidnappings seriously — hiring security, buying home-surveillance equipment, and some have even built panic rooms. “Custodial” services that look after your crypto like a bank are also increasingly popular. But many crypto people still aren’t thinking about this threat, and they boast about their returns, share their NFTs, and joke about “Lambos” despite the risk.
What’s the most elaborate crypto-related crime you’ve heard of?
There’s a ton of variety out there — from an extremely unsophisticated attack on a 14-year-old British schoolboy after he boasted about crypto on social media, to the kidnap of a Brazilian entrepreneur’s wife that took months of planning, more than a dozen people, and the careful use of encrypted-messaging apps to disguise themselves. And as crypto continues to grow, security experts say this will only keep happening more and more frequently.
Read the full story here:
You might also be interested in this story from Rob and Becky Peterson:
After Peloton announced that its founder John Foley would be stepping down as CEO and that it would be slashing 2,800 jobs, its new chief executive, Barry McCarthy, emailed all of the company’s staff.
In it, McCarthy — a veteran of Netflix and Spotify — described the layoffs as a “bitter pill” before making clear that there was no alternative.
“But the hard truth is either revenue had to grow faster, or spending had to shrink,” he wrote. “The math simply didn’t work otherwise, and the status quo was unsustainable.”
A year ago, in what was seen as a major blow to its big bet on video games, Google announced it would close its internal Stadia game studios.
Since then, the company has shifted the focus of its Stadia division largely to securing white-label deals with partners that include Peloton, Capcom, and Bungie, shopping the technology to partners under a new name: Google Stream.
Wall Street hasn’t seen a bonus season this big since 2009 — and overworked financiers are not being shy about splashing the cash. From hot properties in New York and Miami to Porsches and yachts (with plenty of bubbles and Wagyu beef in between), the finance industry is celebrating its windfall bonus year.
We spoke with luxury retailers, real-estate agents, maritime and private aviation brokers, restaurateurs, and Wall Street insiders to see where the money’s going.
More of this week’s top reads:
Event invite: On Tuesday, join AU10TIX and Insider for an expert discussion on the cutting edge of identity verification in the
Edited by Jordan Parker Erb.