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Some teenagers are making a fortune trading Bitcoin—one even got kidnapped because of his success

October 21, 2021, 4:11 PM UTC

A U.K. court has sentenced a 22-year-old man to four years in prison for kidnapping a 14-year-old after the minor took to social media to share about his successes trading Bitcoin.

The child, whose name was not released, suggested he had made “a reasonable amount of money” from trading cryptocurrencies online in May, reports the Guardian. That caught the eye of Muhammed Khubaib and three other men.

The 14-year-old was punched, had a hand put over his mouth, and was forced into the back of a car in Bradford, England. When he was secured there, he was punched once again—this time with a glove containing sand.

The kidnappers called his mother, demanding £10,000 ($13,738). If she didn’t pay, they said, “her son wouldn’t be going home,” prosecutors said. The mother was able to get the abductors to take £900 ($1,236) instead.

Several days later, Khubaib was arrested and pleaded guilty to charges of kidnapping and blackmail. The other abductors have not been identified or arrested.

Judge Richard Mansell, who oversaw the case, said he believed the boy had “clearly been targeted” due to comments made on social media about Bitcoin trading.

Criminals have begun scouring social media for so-called Insta-bragging crypto traders. In Brazil, a 19-year-old crypto trader was shot dead after flaunting his newfound wealth online. (His last Instagram post included the red Porsche in which he was killed.)

More and more young people are experiencing windfalls trading cryptocurrencies. One 19-year-old was able to rent a $23,000-per-month condo. And a brother-sister team, ages 14 and 9, respectively, are making $32,000 per month mining Ethereum, Bitcoin, and more.

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