In 2017, a kidnapping leading analyst of crypto currency exchange EXMO Paul Lerner. December 26, people in dark clothes and balaclavas force dragged Paul into the car and drove away in an unknown direction. Lerner was released on bond three days later after payment of ransom to the kidnappers.
After kidnapping Paul left Ukraine and continued to work in kriptonyte. Now he deals with quantum Analytics in the company BitSonar.
In an exclusive interview ForkLog Paul Lerner told about life after the abduction, advice on how to ensure personal safety, and shared information about the project, which now works.
ForkLog: Last winter we closely followed the news about your abduction. There were rumors that you were injured. Is this true?
Paul Lerner: severe injuries I received. The handcuffs were cracks in the bones radiation. Wrists still hurt sometimes. A few months after the abduction it was hard to print. At this time I could not engage in their main activity — programming and market analysis.
My major injury is psychological. I do not think such incidents are the norm. Well that was near family and friends. They helped me to escape from this situation.
FL: How do you feel now?
Paul Lerner: Much better. The wounds have healed. Trying not to think about the abduction and move on.
FL: What have you learned from this traumatic for any individual situation?
Paul Lerner: After the abduction, I began to think more about their safety. And I advise you to do it.
I also want to note that during the abduction, there were many publications in the media, so it has taken control of influential leaders of Kiev. When I was released — or rather, was thrown from the car — started constant communication with the police of Ukraine.
The police acted quite professionally. The investigation is ongoing, but it is unlikely they will be able to reach the culprits.
FL: In some media there were rumors that the kidnapping was part of the SBU. Is this true?
Paul Lerner: I’ve heard such rumors, but I think they are spreading to discredit the Agency. Perhaps the reason was the situation with the editor-in-chief Forklog. Shortly before my abduction came to him from the SBU and took the money.
I think that the kidnappers were common criminals. My assumptions are based on how they behaved. SBU would work more professionally.
The investigator showed me an ad from the darknet: find dollar millionaires, and we will give you cashback for the tip. The list had about 20 names. I’m not the first one pulled.
Nobody is insured from such cases, especially in countries with a low level of personal security. Cryptocurrency millionaires often don’t realize that someone can take away their money. In our circle people don’t kidnap each other. We don’t know about the «roof» and «float» and therefore go without protection.
FL: what do you think were the motives of the kidnappers?
Paul Lerner: greed. The kidnappers demanded to give all my bitcoins. Apparently, they are not oriented in the issue and requested as a ransom of 10 thousand bitcoins. Then bitcoin was worth $20 thousand.
FL: How much are they required to pay?
Paul Lerner: the Total ransom amounted to 102 of bitcoin. At the time — about $2 million.
FL: are You going to prosecute the offenders? Are there any news in this direction?
Paul Lerner: I’d like to see justice done. As far as I know, the investigation continues, there is a list of suspects. Someone was even arrested, but the customer will not find.
Rather, the case involved an international network of organized crime. The kidnappers could have come from another country only to perform «work». If, for example, from the Russian Federation, the interior Ministry will not be able to deliver them in Ukraine due to political disagreements.
FL: What advice would you give to the holders of altcoins who want more personal safety?
Paul Lerner: to Kidnap and Rob can anyone. It is a question of price and time. Your task is to make the attacker understand: it is easier to Rob a twenty stalls and ride off into the sunset on a fire truck.
What to do:
- Change country. If you live in the former Soviet Union, to move. Will fit European or Asian country with a high level of security. Consider the countries where you will feel safe with the physical and legal point of view.
- Do not spare money for competent lawyers. If you have problems with the authorities or the criminals, the lawyers will immediately begin to act. They have a much more useful familiar than you or your loved ones.
- Become part of the local community. Legal and financial support better find such places. When like-minded people together and systematically building processes, there is a new level of service.
- Carry a tracking device: a bracelet, watch or ring. Such a device can send a signal with your location to lawyers and family. I saw their American counterparts, the rings with the secret button. If the ring is to remove and long press the button, the device sounds the alarm.
These methods we use in BitSonar when working with VIP-investors. People with large deposits need to feel safe. So they will be able to create something useful, and not to move around the city in short rushes.
FL: Now it’s all better, you work in BitSonar. Tell us a little about this project.
Paul Lerner: the Project deals with quantum Analytics. Using software, we analyze data over large periods of time, we find a match, build hypotheses and test them. If this hypothesis is confirmed, we make it quantum strategy.
BitSonar is not limited to the field of cryptocurrencies. This is not just a project but a philosophy for the new world. While I can’t divulge the details. I can say that BitSonar plans to solve problems related to personal freedom, security, movement and disposal of assets.
FL: What is your role in the project?
Paul Lerner: In BitSonar I am responsible for the direction of algorithmic trading cryptocurrencies.
Mathematics and physics in a project valued more traders. To find an experienced quantum Analytics is very difficult. Most often we find young mathematicians and physicists and train them.
FL: How did you start to cooperate with BitSonar?
Paul Lerner: BitSonar suggested that I evaluate their algoritmo-trading part. I liked their system, team and partners. We have similar views on freedom of modern man and the place of cryptocurrencies in them. I think that’s why I was asked to oversee the Department of algorithmic trading.
FL: How did you get into cryptinputstream? Why you all started?
Paul Lerner: I graduated from the physical-mathematical Institute of the Kursk state University. There, I defended my dissertation, and then taught at the Department of information security. I worked with all possible types of encryption, and eventually learned about the cryptocurrency.
The first cryptocurrency I had in 2013. It was litecoin. I minil them on the CPU and the graphics card when in the computer lab didn’t have classes. Once we with the friend have spent 17 thousand litecoin on a trip to Egypt. He still asks me: «Why didn’t you stop me?»
Then I participated in creating the first crypto currency exchange. The founders of the project have entrusted me with team selection. I managed the development process. Just writing code and testing, we spent 14-16 months.
First, the exchange was called Exmine, then EXMO. In the first year was very difficult. We had 8-10 people, each performed all of the roles they could. I was appointed Manager of the exchange. I consulted a cryptocurrency, set up matching exchange and implemented algorithmic technology. When we implemented the work with glasses, own data and other exchanges, and the profitability of EXMO has increased several times.
There were few altcoins. Not many remember that the Dash was then called Darkcoin. Those were fun times! At that time I dealt only with exchange. Later I had other projects libertarian direction. They, the cryptocurrency was a means of investment, holding and managing the funds.
In addition, I ran cryptobranchidae: tried to establish and accelerate the adoption of cryptocurrency society. I wanted people to be able to exchange cryptocurrency for Fiat money in any country of the world.
FL: Have BitSonar also an interesting story. The company is registered in Estonia, the developers are in Malaysia, and the CEO had not been seen in cryptoprocta. How does the project team?
Paul Lerner: BitSonar created a community of professionals and investors that raise their level of financial literacy and independence. The structure of the company reflects our philosophy. We got rid of the borders that society imposes.
We chose Estonian jurisdiction over friendly cryptomeria legislation. However, the cryptocurrency has no boundaries. In this area the efficiency does not depend on time in the office and planning meetings on Mondays.
BitSonar trying to increase the freedom of its employees. Analysts, financiers, and few programmers are in Spain. Malaysian developers — the authors of the first algorithms BitSonar — always traveling. They need only a laptop and Internet. In addition, we cooperate with experts from the USA, Russia and Ukraine.
The project’s CEO Marius Subca — a man of incredible energy and a great Manager. It links scattered around the world employees. Thanks to him, developers, analysts, marketers and brand ambassadors are working as a harmonious mechanism.
FL: who are the essential features of the project?
Paul Lerner: first to the holders. Many of them bought bitcoin at $17-18 thousand. For them, kryptonite has not yet arrived. Such people have bitcoin and Ethereum are idle. BitSonar will increase the number of coins in the wallets of holders with the help of robots, neural networks and quantum strategies. We are working on sites with highly liquid instruments like BitMEX, Binance and Huobi.
Other potential clients — the people who invest in risky projects and use trading bots. They need to know what strategies are effective in cryptocurrency market right now. Many of the tools do not work on the classic market due to the speed of the servers and management. However, they can still be used in cryptocurrency trading. For example, on the classic market is almost impossible to earn arbitrage and kaptarenko this strategy gives you a steady income.
The important thing is that the world of cryptocurrencies is constantly growing and changing. Analysts, programmers, and traders useful to unite, develop hypothesis and make a profit.