Update: it appears that Todd Kantor was not the same man as reported previously, but another victim instead.
Earlier this month, CCN reported on a nameless man who was held at gunpoint for Bitcoin in Brooklyn, New York.
Now he has come forward to another outlet, YouMeAndBTC, and in the below video he is identified as Todd Kantor and describes the events in greater detail. It appears that the story that CNBC and others ran was summarily wrong in some respects, notably how long he was held and how much backstory there was in the events.
In the video he says that this has been going on for some time in New York. He also says that part of the reason he was willing to just get in the car with someone was that he knew one of the people he was dealing with. He describes the case of a firefighter who was robbed earlier this year and apparently decided to fight back, which cost him a few weeks in the hospital and initiated his retirement from selling bitcoins.
He says that it’s “mostly younger kids” buying bitcoins in Brooklyn, which means that they have a physical advantage over the middle-aged man in terms of conducting a robbery. He describes the actual events as being more thorough than previously understood. He says they held him for “a couple of hours” and forced his son to bring down electronics from his apartment.
New System in Place
The professional Bitcoin trader also said that he and other pro traders in New York have now moved to a system where they have teamed up and use an entirely different protocol. In a bit of a confusing bit, he describes the way it works now. They meet at a bank, which is usually a well-lit type of situation. They do the transaction, whether he is buying or selling, there. If he’s buying, he goes in and gets the money after the Bitcoin transaction has been confirmed. If he’s selling, he gets the cash up front.
It doesn’t seem that he has given up on Craigslist as a viable place to sell bitcoins, and this could be a privacy concern. Using Craigslist affords him the ability to leave no third-party trace of the deals he has conducted, which is a problem for many in the Bitcoin world. Further, the recent BitLicense passage could have some impact on his business model, so presumably he must be concerned about coming under the scrutiny of regulators by using a traditional exchange service.
In any case, CCN repeats our previous advice to avoid using random methods of selling bitcoins. There needs to be some form of accountability for both parties, and sites like LocalBitcoins provide that. Taking all the risk into your own hands, especially if you are the one selling the bitcoins, can put you in a hospital bed or worse, as has been repeatedly shown. But in the end, you’re going to do what you’re going to do, so for your own sake, please do it carefully.