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Police Say No Foul Play In Death of Bitcoin Exchange CEO Autumn Radtke 126

Posted by timothy
from the sad-news dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt: "The CEO of a virtual-currency exchange was found dead near her home in Singapore. A police spokesman said Thursday that initial investigations indicated there was no suspicion of 'foul play' in the Feb. 26 death, meaning officers do not suspect murder. The spokesman said police found 28-year-old Autumn Radtke, an American, lying motionless near the apartment tower where she lived. Police have so far classified the death as 'unnatural,' which can mean an accident, misadventure, or suicide." Hat tip to Jamie McCarthy for Slate's thoughtful take on Radtke's death, and the way it's been reported (notably, several sources have speculated that her death was a suicide, with little support).
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Police Say No Foul Play In Death of Bitcoin Exchange CEO Autumn Radtke

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  • by barlevg (2111272) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @12:05PM (#46419565)
    According to the Washington Post, [washingtonpost.com] "Police have so far classified the death as 'unnatural,' which can mean an accident, misadventure, or suicide," and they've taken that and combined it with "Last month she linked to an article on entrepreneurs suffering depression, commenting above the link: everything has its price." WaPo stops short of outright *saying* she committed suicide, but that's certainly the conclusion they're leading their readers to.
    • by TheCarp (96830) <sjc&carpanet,net> on Thursday March 06, 2014 @12:22PM (#46419793) Homepage

      > Last month she linked to an article on entrepreneurs suffering depression

      You are missing the obvious fact that comes up if you do any searching on her.

      She was known for having launched a product, aimed specifically at Second Life. If involvement in second life isn't a marker for potential lifelong clinical depression, then I don't know what is.

      • Suicide. You can pretty much guarantee the depression lasted their entire life there.

        • by Immerman (2627577)

          Nope, only the final moments. Remember "entire life" or "lifelong" imply a duration extending to (roughly) both temporal extremes of their existence.

          • Yeah, all those clinically depressed babies. Depression onset doesn't usually occur at all until pubescence.

      • If involvement in second life isn't a marker for potential lifelong clinical depression, then I don't know what is.

        A horrible thing to say about a possible suicide.

        But it made me laugh.

        We are not perfect.

    • by SuperBanana (662181) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @12:44PM (#46420055)

      WaPo stops short of outright *saying* she committed suicide, but that's certainly the conclusion they're leading their readers to.

      There's a reason the press shies away from it. Mental health organizations have guidelines and recommendations on how to report responsibly on suicides.

      The absolute worst is reporting on the contents of, or even mentioning, a note, because then people who are on the edge / suicidal think "Ah, I can get my letter published too!"

      This sounds absurd, but it's well demonstrated that suicides are "infectious", and reports in the media about a suicide can cause others who are close to do it themselves. It's one of the reasons, after a suicide in a school/workplace/community, you see an immediate effort made to make resources available to everyone else.

      • It's certainly the case that many media outlets may have guidelines [wikipedia.org] for suicide reporting for some of the the very reasons you mention, though it appears in the US, at least, there are no industry-wide standards. One other possible reason for not reporting on the contents of, or mentioning, a note is that many, and possibly even most, suicides do not leave a note [wikipedia.org]. I was surprised to learn this, personally, as media/entertainment portrayal of suicide lead me to believe that leaving a note was a normal part

        • I said that mentioning a note (or the reason for the suicide) is the worst thing the media could do, not that it is commonly done.

          Mentioning the reasons is an invasion of privacy, and validates suicide as a solution to problems others may be having. Very similar to why notes are not mentioned.

        • I spent some time as a copy editor in a newspaper, and I was never given any instructions about how to report suicides. Given the scope and market of that rag, we seldom covered suicides anyway, so it wasn't much of an issue. But we did at least try to handle such things tactfully.

          This was all 10~15 years ago, so a lot has changed since then, but I reckon most people in the business still want to "do the right thing" as much as possible.

          • by worf_mo (193770)

            I worked as a proofreader for a newspaper at the beginning of the 90s, and the rule there (and at all other regional news outlets) was that suicides were never reported about. This unwritten rule had been established after a series of copycat suicides.

        • by sjames (1099)

          I thought they just used "Dirty Laundry" as their guidebook these days.

      • WaPo stops short of outright *saying* she committed suicide, but that's certainly the conclusion they're leading their readers to.

        There's a reason the press shies away from it. Mental health organizations have guidelines and recommendations on how to report responsibly on suicides.

        wrong...this is probably a cover-up....**technically** you're right, in the sense that yes...indeed...details of a suicide or abuse situation that are irrelevant are often left out voluntarily by the reporter. Yes that happens..

        • wrong...this is probably a cover-up

          On what do you base that? People die all the time. Even rich people. Everything you've said leads to "possibly" foul play, not "probably" foul play.

          the police report was **completely inconclusive**

          "no suspicion of 'foul play'" is a conclusion.

          the context of the killing, namely the BTC armageddon, along with other factors leads to a rational suspicion of foul play

          That also leads to rational suspicious of suicide. Why would somebody attack this person, of all people, due to BTC armageddon?

          Generally --

          Yes, conspiracies sometimes happen
          Most things that happen aren't a conspiracy, even if somebody somewhere would have a motivation
          Things that are conspiracies aren't any more s

          • you can have "no suspicion of foul play" AND "completely inconclusive" exist simultaneously....they are not mutually exclusive at all

            ok listen guy, you're not the only one who understands this...in fact I assumed this level of knowledge:

            To make a convincing conspiracy play, you need to know:

            Who would benefit from a coverup
            How hard would a coverup be
            Who has the resources to perform a coverup

            1. rich criminals
            2. not too hard for rich criminals
            3. rich criminals

            the details & context of the ***unexplained dea

          • by rtb61 (674572)
            The simplest most logical solution is often correct. With bitcoin security being down to nothing but user name and password and there being a whole world full of suitable drugs to help elicit that information and provide side affects to silence the witness. The simplest solution is she was used to facilitate the theft and then was eliminated as a dangerous witness.

            The odd thing of course that the thieves forget, the more bitcoins that are stolen the more devalued the pseudo pretend currency becomes (as it

      • by Agent0013 (828350)

        There's a reason the press shies away from it. Mental health organizations have guidelines and recommendations on how to report responsibly on suicides.

        The absolute worst is reporting on the contents of, or even mentioning, a note, because then people who are on the edge / suicidal think "Ah, I can get my letter published too!"

        This sounds absurd, but it's well demonstrated that suicides are "infectious", and reports in the media about a suicide can cause others who are close to do it themselves. It's one of the reasons, after a suicide in a school/workplace/community, you see an immediate effort made to make resources available to everyone else.

        These are the reasons I think the press needs to stop reporting on the suicide by school shooting rampage that many people are copying. If you give these people attention then other depressed people might start to think that it is a way to get attention for themselves. It doesn't seem to matter that the attention comes after they are dead, they do it anyway.

    • by fermion (181285)
      No, they are doing for clicks. It is more irresponsibility from the like of fox news and other bottom feeders. Shame on them. I wish the family my best in their effort to get through this in the middle of all these horrible people who just want to profit off the tragedy.
    • I suspect the reason why the Washington Post is saying it's a suicide is the same reason the British press reported David Kelly's death as a suicide.

      I wouldn't have thought so before but this does now seem to be a concerted effort to discredit virtual currencies.

      • by jythie (914043)
        That really seems like a significant stretch, or at minimal a significant persecution complex with an inflated sense of importance.
    • by nbauman (624611)

      Looking more like suicide. Sad whatever it was.

      http://thediplomat.com/2014/03... [thediplomat.com]

      Channel NewsAsia said that police were called to Cantonment Close just after 7:00 am on February 26. Autumn Radtke, 28, was allegedly discovered lying motionless on a second-floor parapet – indicating the possibility that she jumped from a higher floor (though it is unclear what floor she lived on). Paramedics pronounced her dead at the scene and preliminary investigations turned up no evidence of foul play. Toxicology res

  • Did she know something we don't (yet)?

    • by barlevg (2111272)
      *If* she killed herself, it sounds like it was due to long-standing clinical depression rather than her "falling on her sword" or somesuch. But the truth is we don't know *what* happened, and everyone is just reporting on pure speculation.
    • It might be nothing on it's own. But together with other stories, it sure feels like Bitcoin is unravelling.

  • She's the eleventh person in the financial industry to commit suicide this year.
    • by geekoid (135745)

      How does that compare to other years? Over the last 2 decades?

      What do you mean this year? since January?

      • by medv4380 (1604309)
        Suicide in the financial sector is common, but tends to fallow a pattern with economic issues. It's been up since about August, or October to present. It's unusual since it hasn't trended with any bank collapses, or stock market panic. Unless you count bitcoins.
    • by Sarten-X (1102295)

      How's that rate compare to any other industry?

      Frankly, it strikes me as incredibly low, given that there's about 100 suicides each day in the US alone... unless you're defining "person" in some particular way so as to include only cases that support your point, whatever it may be.

    • by bobbied (2522392)

      She's the eleventh person in the financial industry to commit suicide this year.

      OK, so bankers are throwing in the towel. So what about lawyers?

  • by Overzeetop (214511) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @12:10PM (#46419625) Journal

    How long would it take to eliminate enough bitcoins to make the currency unworkable? If many people with large amounts of BC die without revealing the location and passwords to their cold-storage wallets, a shrinking pool of tradable bitcoins would eventually render it inefficient, yes? Or will BC simply be expanded in subdividion, leading to massive deflation over time (in bitcoin value - an oz of gold = 1BC today, but maybe it would only be worth 0.01BC in ten years, or 0.00001 in a hundred, due to a smaller pool of tradable coin)

    • by Anonymous Coward
      I thought 3D printers were going to topple the world order. Guess being able to make a fragile belt buckle over the weekend isn't quite the Civil War, is it?
    • by bobbied (2522392)

      Ahh.. You have hit on the long term issue I had with BTC. I've read stories where people have lost their coins which will take them out of circulation, and the problem you talk about is further reason for coins to be lost.

      One could argue that they would just issue new currency to miners like they do now, but that's a problem too.

      • by JeffSh (71237)

        i don't think there's a mechanism for issuing new coin, isn't it hard set at the protocol, or do i misunderstand?

        I too have this concern about BTC

        • by bobbied (2522392)

          I'm pretty sure the number of issued BTC is just an agreed upon number that could be easily expanded. It would take a revision of the protocol to allow more, but as I understand this, we are talking about changing a defined value and worst case would be a recompile of everybody's software.

        • by medv4380 (1604309) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @01:00PM (#46420237)
          It would require the protocol to be rewritten. If such a thing is ever done it will give undisputed proof the bit-coin is inflationary whenever it will benefit a majority of the miners.
      • I was under the impression that there was a nearly-finite (what a funny term) about of BC that could be generated based on the underlying math. You would have to isolate the BC which was lost, but unless there's a good, untrimmed chain and the hashes of the wallets of a lost BC owner, you might never know. Which is why its such a big deal to keep track of your BC. It was set up with the purpose of a limited supply to avoid the pitfalls of fiat currency.

        Of course, then there's the dark side. By eliminating l

      • The same could be said for gold - there's not really very much of it (on Earth), yet, even with billions of people to divide it amongst, it hasn't skyrocketed in value.

        I think there's a theoretical minimum division of Bitcoin (the Satoshi?), and if you lose enough Bitcoins, then that minimum division could become a problem. If you can make the Satoshi smaller in future revisions, I'd say it wouldn't really affect the currency - "lost" coins are no different from ones sitting in a bank.

        My top problem with A

        • by vakuona (788200)

          The reason gold hasn't skyrocketed in value is precisely because it isn't used as currency any more. Gold is intrinsically valueless - it is not really a useful metal, and usefulness is the real determinant of value. If gold was still used as a currency, the value would be way beyond what it is now. No one really "wants" gold except as a store of value, and even though, not because it is productive, but because they believe other people will also value it. So it is basically not very different from a fiat c

          • At the moment, I'd say there are more people in the world treating gold as currency than there are all the cryptocurrencies combined.

            If all the world's people switched to gold as the currency standard, it's o.k. if it goes to $100,000 per ounce, as long as you have a way to account for and trade millionths of an ounce - cryptocurrencies have that down pretty well.

            The real miracle fiat currency of the century has to be gemstone diamonds.... I'm very surprised that they've held their value for the past 5 deca

            • by vakuona (788200)

              People are treating gold as a store of value rather than as a currency.

              And why would we want to make the owners of gold so incredibly wealthy and perpetuate and greatly increase the gap between rich and poor. Gold suffers from much the same problems as BTC. It is deflationary and it is finite.

              • Now you're getting to the political basis of it all - it matters more who a change is going to benefit in the short term than whether or not a change is better for everyone in the long term. I'm not saying moving (back) to gold would be a good thing, just that this is how decisions are made....

                However, the world's richest people don't have proportionately more gold... on the contrary, it's mostly the upper-middles in poorer and less stable nations (or states of mind) that have largish hoards of precious me

    • How do you know the BTC was destroyed in the hack? How do you know the BTC isn't sitting in someone's wallet?

      • by Overzeetop (214511) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @02:39PM (#46421227) Journal

        It wasn't "destroyed" in the physical or electronic sense. However, if you were to lose your cold-storage wallet (and it ended up at the bottom of a landfill), or you were to die, with your wallet encryption password only in your head, those BTC would still exist but would never be available for trading. They may as well be destroyed, since they can never, ever re-enter circulation, baring someone unlocking the encryption (which BTC has been designed to prevent).

        • That I understand, however, the questions is, how do we know the BTC weren't stolen, and in control of the person(s) who performed the hack? One theory is that the BTC was seized by the US Government (as they took down Silk Road), which means they are potentially still in circulation, and not lost forever.

    • I'd imagine if a large enough pool of bitcoins were for sure confirmed missing (not sure if that can even be tracked), the block difficulty would probably be lowered and miners would be awarded new bitcoins at a higher rate for solving more blocks, thus fixing the shortage problem.
    • by gox (1595435)

      Actually, the unit of account called a Bitcoin is an arbitrary magnitude in unit value used in the network, and it is actually represented by the number 100000000. So, considering you currently have 12.5 * 10^14 units in circulation, even removing the overwhelming majority of units won't be enough. If push comes to shove, you can just update the protocol and add a variable integer coefficient.

      Whether there will be massive deflation after stability, or whether there will be any stability remains to be seen,

      • Yes, you have 12.5 x 10^14 potential minimal units in circulation, but 10^8 units go out with every "bitcoin" which is rendered inaccessible. Losing, say, 4x10^5 bitcoin (if Satoshi died with the passwords in his head) seems small, except that it represents 4x10^13 units in your 12.5x10^4 world. Still not entirely disruptive, but if several large holders were to lose access to their BTC hashes, it could materially reduce the currency circulation.

        There is a certain, finite attrition of coins over time throug

        • by gox (1595435)

          I agree with most of your analysis, but I think you are overlooking the fact that the number of lost coins per a constant time interval is likely to shrink with the money supply, assuming you aren't also shrinking the user base. You will likely see a percentage of the total money supply lost per year, and that will almost certainly get lower with better use of the technology.

          it is an endgame few people have talked about.

          The reason you don't see it come up very often is that it is not an endgame, but rest assured that it is being talked about at least s

  • Aside from lazy reporting, of course...

    Is because there have been what conspiracy theoriests are calling an unusual number of banker (though they usually use bankster) suicides and mysterious deaths, since the start of the year.

    So they're trying to make this death fit a pattern that may not actually exist.

  • this stuff is beginning to read like a script...it has everything.

  • "The Todd family's suspicions of foul play stemmed from various pieces of circumstantial evidence. For instance, they alleged that police had failed to properly investigate the scene of the crime, that the police neglected to dust for fingerprints, that the suicide notes ostensibly left by Dr Todd were out of character, that the crime scene did not match the description given by authorities, and that a pathologist in the United States found that his body showed evidence of a struggle, rather than a suicide.

    • I was waiting for someone to post that. However, I am going to offer another view on Todd's death. Todd made a lot of claims that he was being forced to work on a project that was willingly dangerous to US national security. An official inquest found that Todd committed suicide and the US embassy in Singapore called the inquest "comprehensive, fair and transparent". I'd like to suggest that things are what they seem - Todd had psychological issues and he killed himself. I get that his family cannot acc
  • by medv4380 (1604309) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @12:35PM (#46419951)
    The real story is that there have been an unusually high number of Banker, and Financial sector deaths. Ether suicides, or suspected suicides. This is the only one I know of that officially connected to bitcoin, but the nature of bitcoin hides it well enough that it would require an investigation to prove the others were into bitcoin as well. Which probably isn't even being looked into after their death. I hate bitcoins and 'coiners, but I hope this isn't a sign of Black Tuesday window jumping. I want bitcoin to be a lesson learned, and move on. Not a kill yourself so you can't warn the next group of just how stupid they're being.
  • Just like bankers in the Depression.

  • I'm sure she threw herself onto 9 or 10 bullets ... at the bottom of an elevator shaft ... while wearing a blindfold.
  • A Tulsa man was found with hands and feet tied, and was decapitated. The police called it suicide. So I do not know what these cops mean when they say suicide. Cops called Hillary Clinton's old lawyer boyfriend's death a suicide, when he died of a gunshot wound with no gun found.

    • Cops called Hillary Clinton's old lawyer boyfriend's death a suicide, when he died of a gunshot wound with no gun found.

      Web Hubble died in prison. Vince Foster wouldn't have touched Hillary with a stolen dick, same as Bill. They did find a gun.

  • and we care because? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Gothmolly (148874)

    Some Millenial expat dot-com dbag offed herself?

  • People can die suddenly and randomly of natural causes; even famous people.

    Fiction may abhor a coincidence, but real life loves them.

  • First Meta Exchange [firstmetaexchange.com] (where CEO Autumn Radtke worked) only allows bitcoin to be used for purchases of the other virtual currencies they trade. BTC purchases of IMVU Credits, Lindens, Nuvo Notes, Toricredits and Friends Hangout Tokens are actually handled through bitpay. [bitpay.com]

    In other words, First Meta Exchange wasn't really a "bitcoin exchange". Of course, if the headline read "Police Say No Foul Play In Death of Torricredits Exchange CEO Autumn Radtke", few would've clicked.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    There have been over 20 bankers around the world in recent months that "comitted suicide". I don't buy it, especially a pretty 28 year old CEO with everything to live for.

    There are only three situations that match these events.

    1. Either it's just coincidence that so many in high level banking industry positions are killing theselves just because they are depressed over other events in their life. (I don't buy that).

    2. They all realize something is about to happen that is so bad, that the better option is t

    • by jythie (914043)
      No. Depression is not rational, it is a mental illness. You can have a wonderful life and a full future and it can still kill you.
  • Someone is dead, likely from suicide stemming from clinical depression.

    This really is not the best place to inject all the politics and conspiracy theories.

"And do you think (fop that I am) that I could be the Scarlet Pumpernickel?" -- Looney Tunes, The Scarlet Pumpernickel (1950, Chuck Jones)

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