A blockchain researcher has flagged over 5000 BTC being moved from wallets linked to the infamous 2016 Bitfinex cryptocurrency exchange hack.
Blockchain researcher, developer and cryptocurrency trader Dr Kirill Kretov notified The Daily Chain of the movement of a large amount of Bitcoin linked to wallets associated with the Bitfinex hack this week.
According to Kretov, who has identified a number of BTC movements from dormant wallets this year, 14 wallets containing Bitcoin that was stolen in the 2016 Bitfinex hack awakened on November 30.
The amount of BTC moved from the wallets ranged from between 200 BTC to 400 BTC with the total exceeding over 5000 BTC. Considering Bitcoin’s current value at the time of publishing of $19,786, the total value of the Bitcoin (5044BTC) is around $99,800,584.
The 5000 BTC that have been moved are just a fraction of the 119,755 Bitcoin that was stolen on August 2, 2016. Hackers managed to break through Bitfinex’s security systems and stole the above mentioned amount in 2072 unauthorized transactions.
Keeping tabs on old wallets
Kretov has been keeping tabs on dormant BTC wallets from the early days of Bitcoin’s inception as well as wallets that have been linked to high-profile hacks of exchanges like Mt Gox and Bitfinex.
Speaking to The Daily Chain, Kretov said that the addresses associated with the Bitfinex hack are publicly known and he has been monitoring them for some time.
“Wallets from Bitfinex hack 2016 are widely known, like wallets from Mt Gox. You can quickly google the entire list, it should contain about 2073 addresses. I added those lists to my private blockchain monitoring software. It was originally made to monitor dormant “Satoshi-era” Bitcoin, so I simply expanded the list with new entries. Thus now, if any outgoing transfer takes place from any address that I have in my list, I get immediately notified,” Kretov explained.
Bitfinex has previously offered $200mln reward for the return of stolen funds
It’s not the first time that BTC linked to the 2016 hacking incident has been moved by hackers. In August 2020 Bitfinex went as far as offering a reward of up to $400mln to anyone that could help the exchange identify the individuals responsible for the original theft.
The exchange vowed to pay 5% of the total property recovered or equivalent funds or assets at current market rates. Bitfinex offered a proverbial olive branch to the hackers themselves, promising 25% of the total property recovered if they returned the stolen BTC.
Nevertheless Kretov highlighted the fact that the hackers may still get away with ‘washing’ the stolen BTC if they work quickly.
“Well, that one is a bit of a challenge. There are exchanges that don’t have effective AML/KYC policies enforced and some exchanges rely on third party analytical services that might be relatively slow (few hours lag from the most recent transaction). That may give the hacker enough time to perform a number of transfers through various mixers and quickly deposit on some exchange, sell for another coin and withdraw,” Kretov said.