AN AUTHOR was horrified to find out she spent nearly £500,000 worth of Bitcoin buying drugs on dark web.
Bitcoin continues to fluctuate in price as the volatile cryptocurrency last week plunged to just 50% of its record high – hitting lows of just £21,000.
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The Sun Online has been looking at some cautionary tales from the world of crypto – and one such story was told by Jia Tolentino.
Ms Tolentino, 32, a staff writer for New Yorker and a published author, revealed her own Bitcoin horror story when appearing on the Reply All tech podcast in 2018.
She contacted the show as she remembered buying around £50 ($80) worth of Bitcoin in 2012 while exploring the Dark Web – but wasn't sure what had happened to her stash after changing laptops.
"Jia says that she bought about 80 bucks worth of bitcoin for this drug purchase, and she knows that there was bitcoin left over," said host Alex Goldman.
"But, in the 6 years since the original purchase, she has totally forgotten what happened to the bitcoin."
Today – the 17.5 coins she purchased at the time are now worth £456,253.
Thinking she could be sitting on a small fortune, the Super Tech Support team on the show put their heads together to try and track down her missing riches, which was worth around £200,000 at the time.
However, what they found was she had spent nearly all of her Bitcoin buying drugs on Dark Web marketplace Silk Road.
She had hoped to find she had some of the money left as she recalled buying the Bitcoin to purchase weed and MDMA – but she did not know what happened to the leftovers.
It turns out all she had left was 0.00209 bitcoin, which is worth around £75.
It’s so embarrassing
"This really hurts to look at. This really hurts to look at. I really… wow," Jia said on Reply All.
She added: "It’s so embarrassing. You know this is like my mom was always like, 'Jia you shouldn’t do any drugs.'
"And I’m like, 'Mom, my life is very on track'/ This is like the first time that I’ve been like yeah, you should stop doing drugs."
When asked by the hosts if the drugs were good, she said: "They were fine. I actually think the weed was not that good, and I think the molly was molly so it was great."
Jia's story comes after we told the tale of "Bitcoin Pizza Guy" – who spent £250million of Bitcoin on Papa John's – and a crypto trader who lost £200million worth of the coins as he forgot his password.
What is Bitcoin?
BITCOIN got you baffled? Here’s what you need to know:
- Bitcoin is a virtual currency
- It's traded between people without the help of a bank
- Every transaction is recorded in a public ledger, or "blockchain"
- Bitcoin is created by mining
- Mining involves solving difficult maths problems using computer processors
- Bitcoin can be traded anonymously, which can make it a popular way of funding illegal activities
- The value of Bitcoin fluctuates wildly
- Bitcoin is one of many different cryptocurrencies, but by far the most popular
Super Tech Support enlisted the help of Bitcoin hunter Jeremy Rubin and Chainanalysis online forensics boss Jonathan Levine to track down Jia's missing coins.
They tracked her transactions and realised pretty much as soon as the author had purchased the currency, it was sent to Silk Road.
Bitcoin transactions are public – but the users are anonymous, but web sleuths can often work out who are behind certain exchanges if they have enough information.
Levine found that all her Bitcoin had been spent – leaving the relatively paltry 0.00209 in the wallet.
Reply All host PJ Vogt said: "So she doesn’t—the reason there’s no leftover money to find is what she’s misremembering is she spent all her money on drugs."
Jia laughed off the revelation saying, "Oh my god. Really? Wait, I spent almost all of it? I was that precise/"
She added; "Oh my god. This is – oh my god."
And tweeting about the podcast in 2018, she said: "If you listen to today's @replyall, in which I call Super Tech Support to see if I am rich in long-lost bitcoin, you will hear me slowly owning myself harder than I have ever owned myself in my life."
Replying to a friend, she added: "omg you witnessed my weed habits in college i bet you can guess what i did with my bitcoin."
She followed the message with a crying emoji as she lamented her lost fortune.
The price of Bitcoin jumped about 4% yesterday after the billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk tweeted that he was having active discussions regarding the sustainability of the digital coin.
It came after he prompted a price crash last week after confirming his firm Tesla would stop accepting the cryptocurrency concerns around the coin's environmental impact.
He tweeted: "Spoke with North American Bitcoin miners. They committed to publish current & planned renewable usage & to ask miners WW to do so. Potentially promising."
It came as China cracked down on coin mining and Bitcoin sat at just 50% of it all-time high on Sunday.
To process Bitcoin transactions, a procedure called “mining” must take place, which involves a computer solving a difficult mathematical problem with a 64-digit solution.
For each problem solved, one block of Bitcoin is processed. In addition, the miner is rewarded with new Bitcoin.
To compensate for the growing power of computer chips, the difficulty of the puzzles is adjusted to ensure a steady stream of new Bitcoins are produced each day.
The Ethereum, Cardano and Dogecoin currencies are also suffering though all three remain significantly up on where they were at the start of 2021.
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