In Japan’s First Crypto-Theft Case, The Defendant Is A Minor

Japanese police have charged an unnamed Japanese minor with stealing funds from Japanese art trading site Monappy. According to an article in The Japan Times, this is the country’s first legal battle concerning the cyber-theft of cryptocurrency.

The 18-year-old boy – in Japan a minor is anyone under 20 years of age – hails from Tochigi prefecture and is accused of exploiting a glitch on the Monappy website, which caused the system to malfunction when “transfers were repeated over a short period of time.” According to the article, between August 14 and September 1 of 2018, the unnamed youth submitted multiple transfer requests, causing the website to malfunction and ¥15 million ($134,300) worth of monacoin to be deposited into the minor’s personal account. The monacoin was stolen from 7,700 different users.

The boy then stored the purloined coins on a different crypto operator and exchanged the monacoin for different types of digital currency. He then cashed out and bought personal items such as a new smartphone, according to Japanese police.

Japanese police were able to identify the boy by examining communication records stored on the Monappy website servers even though the perpetrator used Tor software to cover his tracks. According to the The Japan Times, the youth confessed to Japanese police, saying, “I felt like I’d found a trick no one knows and did it as if I were playing a video game.”