One of the biggest affairs is being committed in the present and very continuous time as about 96000 BTC are going from wallet to wallet to disappear in someone’s physical pocket to bring this person or group of people among the leading millionaires not only in the digital bitcoin community, but also in the real human world. Making the approximation in accordance with the present exchange ratio of crypto coins to any fiat currency can be concluded that the new owner of the money is going to receive about a hundred millions of dollars. These coins have been collected by emptying the accounts of customers, vendors, merchants and the administration of the page SheepMarketplace or simply SMP as it is known for users on the web. For those who are far from virtual trades and deals and cannot even imagine the amount of money circulating in the digital world should understand that this market venue of the Global Web is the reflection of the recently closed Silk Road – the most famous black market page, whose founder Ross Ulbricht is currently in custody after the investigation of the FBI.
The beginning of the situation was following – the person or group of persons succeeded to forge bitcoins in their own empty wallets and in the ones of user page users. A week long the site was emptied and only towards the weekend the administration understood that something extraordinary is happening. The service was closed, but a huge amount of money has already disappeared. It has happened after the competitor of the Silk Road – Black Market Reloaded – stated to terminate their work as unable to deal with new users flowing to them from the SheepMarketplace.
At first only 5400 were reported to be stolen. The administration was unable to resolve the situation. It was voiced that the vendor EBOOK101 found a leak in the system and used it to obtain the money – of others users, merchants and the administration itself.
As the amount of the stolen money exceeded the mentioned amount everyone understood that this is false scent. How was it performed chronologically?
20th November – the merchants are unable to receive payments and to withdraw the funds from the market place. The administration says that the reason is maintenance of the transaction safety system.
27th November – SMP says that 905 could now withdraw their funds. Afterwards only the owners of a single bitcoin and less are able to do so. And only after 22 hours.
Afterwards the administration explains that decisions as a method to alleviate the network by reducing the amount of withdrawals. In reality the wallets were left for the criminals to be emptied. To be precise – the fullest ones were presented to the suspects.
The next full stop should be made on reddit – one if the users sees the owners of the service and several merchants – all from Chez Republic – the criminals, who now each other. The user throwme1121 sees them as the initiators of the fraud – the prices for the goods on the black market were reduced and money has flown to the wallets of the service without going to the initial merchants as a result.
The day after to users were capable to determine with the BlockChain the registered transactions the movement of 39918 BTC or about 40 million dollars. That makes the previous sum to be a bait to distract users from the real size of the problem. Currently the sum has risen to 96000 of bitcoins.
The next movement of the activist who decided to determine where the crypto money flows was to understand the basic principles of the crime. Bitcoin Fog service might be useful tool – to launder money the fractions of the sum are mixed up with clean or currently unused bitcoins. The same scheme was used by Silk Road to remove money in an unnoticed way. If the mix is in ration 2:3 to find the routes is almost impossible.
One of the users was successful in his chasing the criminal – he was behind only for 20 minutes or two approved transactions. The robber created even new wallets to put there the money from the 49 initial wallets. Not to lose the track he has sent small particles of the BTC to go after them as a hint or footprint. Next step was the mixer or the Bitcoin Fog and the activist succeeded to put his BTC particles together with the stolen 96000 bitcoins and found the wallet addresses.
The chain that was followed by the user is presented on reddit together with the numbers of wallets and anyone interested or who has suffered can go through this combination to check it.
On the 2nd November a hacker connected via IRC with Gwern Branwen, a journalist and researcher and presented proof that the founder of the SheepMarketplace and the criminal is the chez Tomáš Ji?ikovský. Similar crime occurred also the site Project Black Flag – that means that the scheme has successfully worked several times. The hacker says that this information was also given to the FBI, but the journalist put all his collected information of Dropbox for access.
Now this data is assumed to be the most crucial and correct for the investigation. Now the criminals should be very attentive as the community of bitcoin seeks revenge – this situation might make a shadow on the bright future of the bitcoin, especially after the day, when the US Government started to get interested in the crypto currency.
Observing the basic principles of bitcoin as mathematic system even a beginner should be ready to say that the criminals have very small chances for success. As the wallets have been identified the funds have to be exchanges for fiat money – huge amounts will attract unnecessary interest from authorities, but the small ones will be definitely monitored by the community activists. Now the investigation waits for the robbers to take the next step that definitely will become a mistake.