Recently, some of the 120,000 Bitcoin (BTC) that was stolen from Bitfinex in 2016 started moving again. Here is what has been happening with this stash of coins valued at over $1 billion.
2016 Bitfinex hack summary. Source: Crystal.
$1 billion in BTC waiting to be dumped
Thus far, the hackers have moved less than 3,000 BTC out of almost 120,000 BTC that they managed to steal from the exchange. The highest proportion of coins that have been spent went to darknet marketplaces, with the Russain giant Hydra leading the pack with 736 BTC. This is worrisome, as it would imply that a large amount of Bitcoin could be dumped on the market at any point. On the other hand, this could be an indication that it is becoming increasingly difficult for criminals to launder stolen cryptocurrency.
Bitcoin finding its way home
On June 2, 82 of the stolen Bitcoin was transferred to private wallets where it still resides. Two other transactions occurred on the same day.
June 2 transactions involving stolen BTC. Source: Crystal.
We traced the geographic origin of these transactions. These transactions came from the United States, United Kingdom and Singapore. Likely, this would indicate that the thieves were using a VPN to obfuscate their true location.
Another interesting observation is that apparently some of the stolen BItcoin found its way to Huobi, Binance and Bitfinex in 2019.
Apparently, 2.9 BTC from the 2016 hack ended up on Bitfinex in 2019. Source: Crystal.
We cannot make this conclusion with complete certainty, but what we know is that there were no identified entities such as exchanges, mixers or payment processors between the origination point and those exchanges. If our conclusions are correct, then those exchanges should have the names of the hackers or their accomplices.
As more crypto businesses start taking Know Your Customer and Anti-Money Laundering regulations more seriously, crypto hacking should become a less profitable endeavor.
Bitfinex declined to comment on Cointelegraph’s findings.