In the past 12 months, cryptocurrency has consistently grabbed headlines thanks to an unprecedented rise in the value of bitcoin. In recent weeks, however, the entire industry has been rocked by a shocking amount of hacks, cyberattacks, mistakes and thefts.
From the Tokyo exchange which can now boast about falling victim to the "biggest cryptocurrency loss ever" to an armed robbery in the UK – here are the highlights:
22 January - Four men, rural England and a scary bitcoin theft at gunpoint
In a first for the UK, a digital currency trader living in a picturesque village in Oxfordshire – known for Midsomer Murders, no less – was targeted on the morning of 22 January when four men broke into his home and made him transfer bitcoin at gunpoint.
The gang members, whose identities remain a mystery, are now being hunted by Thames Valley Police. The story shows just how dangerous it has become to work with large amounts of cryptocurrency.
26 January – Hackers hit more than 15m computers with crypto-mining tool
Discovered by Palo Alto Networks, a US cybersecurity company, a cryptocurrency mining campaign was found to have infected millions of computers around the world – with hackers using the "XMRig" miner to create a form of virtual anonymous money called Monero.
Worse still, the campaign had been active for approximately four months, as the hackers continued to evade detection and update their malicious tactics every couple of weeks. Only days later, a similar campaign was found to be targeting the video hosting giant YouTube.
27 January – Yep, the biggest crypto-hack of all time just happened
In 2014, hackers stole half a billion dollars' worth of bitcoin from the Mt. Gox exchange, leading to its downfall (and bankruptcy). On Saturday, Japanese exchange Coincheck had a "hold my beer" moment as hackers infiltrated users' wallets to net a whopping $530m worth of coins.
When the dust settled, the incident had left roughly 260,000 customers out of pocket, and while the firm has promised to pay back 90% of the lost funds, a financial watchdog appears unconvinced it will be able to cover its heavy losses. Local police are now investigating.
29 January – Experty ICO gets hacked to the sum of $150,000 via phishing
Pesky hackers have also targeted Experty – an Ethereum-based cryptocurrency start-up currently trying to raise capital investment. Using a simple phishing scam, the cybercriminals tricked participants into sending tens of thousands of dollars to the wrong wallets.
The ICO – Initial Coin Offering – was penciled for 31 January, but was hit by fraud emails over the previous weekend, announcing a fake pre-ICO sale. At least 71 people appeared to have fallen for the audacious scam – netting the culprits a fortune worth more than $150,000.
29 January - Crypto start-up Prodeum website leaves behind the word 'penis'
The Prodeum Project had a white paper and a fancy logo. It was also, it now appears, a total sham. On Sunday (28 January), its website went offline and all that was left was the tiny word "penis". Any poor soul who invested money into this bizarre ICO was left with zilch.
"A sh*tcoin startup called Prodeum just exit scammed with millions of investor dollars and left them the following message on their site," read a tweet which went viral, announcing the scam. The coin itself was billed as a way to revolutionise the vegetable industry – so its was always weird.
And, it's only Monday. Who knows what the next seven days will bring.