Two Italian 17-year-olds were arrested for paying Bitcoin (BTC) to see children being sexually abused, tortured and murdered in live streaming.

Local media Il Messaggero reported on July 15 that the deep web website viewed by the two also allowed users to pay extra to decide what torture the children would be subjected to next. Italian law enforcement explained:

“Users that were able to reach those kinds of obscure environments are allowed to take part in acts of sexual violence and torture on minors, performed live by adults.”

Livestreamed torture on-demand

The services offered by the website have different costs. Viewing a pre-recorded video costs much less than watching live, but in both cases the viewing concludes with the death of the child. The article also provides another example, according to which “viewers can for instance request them to amputate a children’s arm or to pour hot oil over the victim.” Law enforcement said:

“The live requests really cost a lot of money and ensure particularly high profits to the foreign organizations that carry out those inhuman acts.”

The two were searched as part of an ongoing investigation that has so far involved 25 people — 19 minors and six over 18 — residing in 13 Italian provinces. The operation is nicknamed “Delirio” — delirium in Italian — by local law enforcement. It started in October and resulted in tens of searches.

The two arrested are a man and a woman who exchanged details pertaining to what they referred to as a “red room.” The man often shared with the women grim details of the livestreams.

Media found include pedopornographic videos self-made by minors, videos of children as young as three-year-olds being molested by adults, and videos depicting violence often accompanied by Nazi symbology.

It is unclear whether the website offering the services was shut down, but presumably only some of its viewers were caught. Local law enforcement has not answered Cointelegraph’s inquiry.

Pedopornography’s relationship with crypto

Cryptocurrencies’ pseudonymity and the lack of governmental control over them make them suitable for criminals. Among such criminals, we can find political dissidents, whistleblowers and journalists, but also pedophiles, drug dealers and black-hat hackers.

There have been many worldwide reports on the use of Bitcoin and other crypto assets specifically in child porn dealings. For instance, at the end of June Spanish law enforcement took down a dark-web child porn ring that used cryptocurrency transactions to pay for content.