Apple Inc. (AAPL) co-founder and technology czar Steve Wozniak said his bitcoins were stolen through a cryptocurrency credit-card scam. Wozniak (a.k.a. "the Woz") made the surprising revelations at the Economic Times' Global Business Summit in India. (See also: Bitcoin Mining Market Hacked: $70M Stolen from NiceHash.)
"I had seven bitcoins stolen from me through fraud," Wozniak recounted. "Somebody bought them from me online through a credit card, and they cancelled the credit card payment. It was that easy. And it was from a stolen credit card number, so you can never get it back."
At that time the theft occurred, bitcoin prices hovered at around $700 per token, which puts the loss value at $4,900. Using today's bitcoin price of about $10,700, that's a loss of almost $75,000. (See also: Tesla Billionaire Elon Musk Reveals How Much Bitcoin He Owns.)
Woz’s Experiment With Bitcoin
Wozniak was once a great fan of the world’s most popular cryptocurrency, but recently sold all his bitcoin. “Bitcoins to me was a currency that was not manipulated by the governments," he said. "It is mathematical, it is pure, it can’t be altered."
Wozniak said when he purchased bitcoin (back when its price hovered at $700 a pop), he bought them as an experiment. “I had them so that I could someday travel and not use credit cards, wallets or cash. I could do it all on bitcoin," he said. "I studied which hotels and facilities accepted bitcoin...it’s still very difficult to do so. I also tried to buy things online and trade bitcoin online."
Wozniak said he later decided to sell his bitcoin holdings because he got tired of the hysteria surrounding the virtual currency's erratic daily price fluctuations.
Investing in cryptocurrencies and other Initial Coin Offerings ("ICOs") is highly risky and speculative, and this article is not a recommendation by Investopedia or the writer to invest in cryptocurrencies or other ICOs. Since each individual's situation is unique, a qualified professional should always be consulted before making any financial decisions. Investopedia makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy or timeliness of the information contained herein.