19-year old Elliott Gunton has pleaded guilty to selling stolen personal data for bitcoin on the dark web, at Norwich Crown Court on July 4, 2019.
According to the Eastern Daily Press, who reported the case, Gunton is not a first offender, as he had earlier been convicted of hacking TalkTalk when he was 16. The teenager was placed under close scrutiny as part of a sexual harm prevention order (SHPO) imposed after indecent images of children were found on his laptop.
Following the conviction, the police kept hawk eyes on Gunton’s movements online, which is how they discovered he was raking in massive profits from selling hacked personal data of unsuspecting web users for cryptocurrency.
At the trial held in April, Gunton, who had allegedly made over $381,000 in crypto, claimed he had made his fortune out of “stocks and shares”. However, at the hearing on Thursday, the youth came clean and admitted to having run afoul of the law.
He’s charged for breaching the sexual harm prevention order (SHPO) as well as two offenses under the Computer Misuse Act (1990), including supplying user details knowing they were likely to be used for illicit purposes.
The presiding judge, Judge Stephen Holt, granted the teen bail, adjourned sentencing until August 16 for a pre-sentence report, and is reportedly considering reformative corrections for Gunton.
A New Breed of Gen. Z Crypto Criminals
Gunton’s case is only one of many cases of crypto crime worryingly perpetrated by teenagers. In May, a group mostly comprised of teens reportedly drained the accounts of more than 50 Californian victims in a $35 million SIM swap heist. The youths moved mobile numbers to another SIM card without users’ knowledge and thus were able to fake identification to gain access to emails, bank accounts, and cryptocurrency wallets.
Although the SIM swap scams could have been prevented if the users had two-factor authentication, it didn’t change the fact that the anti-crypto community had another crime as ammunition to solidify their case against crypto.
Bad Apples Exist Everywhere
Cryptocurrency has become an overall controversial topic- and while there may be ample cases of users abusing the digital assets, there are just as many cases where virtual currencies have been used to the improvement of individuals and communities.
Since its inception in 2009, bitcoin has left a string of winners in its wake- including youths who have won big in crypto.
Popular bitcoin billionaires, The Winklevoss Twins, took a leap of faith with the coin back in 2012, after their stint with Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. When BTC market value soared in 2017, the twins made massive returns on their investment and became the first bitcoin billionaires.
Today, they have a crypto net worth of around $1 billion and they have established themselves as the leading figure in the crypto world with their cryptocurrency exchange, Gemini. Other popular names on this list include Digital Currency Group’s Barry Silbert and Roger Ver
The success stories continue, but the message is the same. Cryptocurrency, just like fiat, can be used for good or for bad. If world governments create a premise where the workings of the coin can be objectively assessed, the world may yet understand the potentials of cryptocurrency, and only then can abuse reduce.