<p>A criminal gang in South Africa who kidnapped a teenage boy on Sunday are demanding a ransom in bitcoin crytocurrency of nearly $120,000, police said.</p> <p>Katlego Marite, 13, was dragged into a car while playing with two friends near his home in Witbank, a town in the eastern province of Mpumalanga, on Sunday afternoon, police spokesman Leonard Hlathi said.</p> <p>“They demanded that the family should deposit a sum of 15 bitcoins, not in rands,” he told news channel eNCA. </p> <h3>Clueless parents decry demand for bitcoins</h3> <p>“(The parents) don’t even know what these bitcoins are. They are not dealing in those things. They are in tatters as we speak.”</p> <p>Although police in South Africa have reported a recent rise in kidnappings, the ransom demand in cryptocurrency appears to be a first.</p> <p>In December, kidnappers in Ukraine received a ransom worth more than $1 million in bitcoins for releasing their victim, an employee of a British cryptocurrency exchange.</p> <h3>About bitcoin</h3> <p>Bitcoin is a digital or cryptocurrency that enables payment in a decentralized peer-to-peer network not governed by any central authority or middleman. Digital currencies rely on cryptography and blockchain technology to validate and secure transactions. </p> <p>As demand for the cryptocurrency surged, the value of bitcoin rose with the value of a bitcoin going as high as $19,783 in December 2017.</p> <p>Several authorities including central banks, governments and religious institutions have warned against the use of bitcoin citing the lack of a central authority and probable use by money launderers, terrorists and other criminal elements as reasons for their objection to the financial technology trend.</p> <h3><a href="http://www.africanews.com/2018/01/02/top-egyptian-cleric-forbids-muslims-from-bitcoin-trading/"target="_blank">Top Egyptian cleric forbids Muslims from Bitcoin trading</a></h3>
They demanded that the family should deposit a sum of 15 bitcoins, not in rands.