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Did the CEO of a Bitcoin exchange really take her own life?

Autumn Radtke, the 28-year-old CEO of the Bitcoin exchange First Meta, was found dead in her home in Singapore.


Patrick Howell O'Neill

Internet Culture

Autumn Radtke, the 28-year-old CEO of the Bitcoin exchange First Meta, was found dead in her home in Singapore. According to the Daily Mail, local media are reporting that police suspect the cause of death is suicide. Toxicology test results are still out.

Radtke, a Wisconsin native who moved to Singapore in January 2012, was found dead Feb. 28. Before working at First Meta, she held jobs across the tech industry at Apple, Xfire, and Geodelic.

“The First Meta team is shocked and saddened by the tragic loss of our friend and CEO Autumn Radtke,” reads a statement on the company’s website. “Our deepest condolences go out to her family, friends and loved ones. Autumn was an inspiration to all of us and she will be sorely missed.”

“Bitcoin’s recent turmoil has claimed its first life,” wrote the New York Post.

But as Will Oremus notes in Slate, you should be skeptical about the “suicide” part. It’s tempting to believe the Mt. Gox crash spurred a suicide. Bitcoin users claim to have lost a lot of money. But the sources here are sketchy.

It is true that the young woman, 28-year-old Autumn Radtke, is dead. But officials are still investigating the cause of death. As far as I can tell, the “suicide” headlines on sites such as the New York Post, the Daily Mail, and Fox News are based on anonymously sourced reports in “local media.” The only such report I’ve been able to track down so far was on the blog Tech in Asia on Feb. 27, which said “sources have suggested that [Radtke] committed suicide.” A note at the top of that blog post indicates that it has been updated to emphasize that “investigations are ongoing.”

There’s no indication as to what may have driven Radtke to take her own life. The “suicide” is unconfirmed. But on the same day that Radtke was found dead, Vietnam’s government declared Bitcoin and other electronic currencies illegal, warning citizens against using them.

H/T Daily Mail | Photo: Facebook via Daily Mail

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