Popular cryptocurrency exchange KuCoin was recently a victim of a massive hack that saw millions in funds being stolen by the attackers. In just 30 minutes, about $150m worth of ETH tokens got moved from wallets marked “Kucoin” and “Kucoin 2” on Etherscan on the day of the hack. According to the Cryptocurrency analytics firm Elliptic, the worth of the digital assets stolen was over $280 million.
Following the hack, other major crypto exchanges started blacklisting the hacker’s addresses in a bid to recover the lost funds. Bitfinex and stablecoin maker Tether announced that both the companies have frozen a total of $33 million worth of stolen assets. Bitfinex froze $13 million USDT on the EOS network followed by Tether freezing $30 million on the Ethereum Network.
Around $64mln worth of cryptocurrency was recovered from various addresses linked to the cybercriminals.
When all the exchanges were off-limits for the hackers, the bad actors turned to decentralized exchanges to get away with the funds. The peer-to-peer nature of decentralized exchanges gives nefarious actors the ability to exchange various cryptocurrencies anonymously.
A significant portion of funds recovered
According to a recent tweet by KuCoin co-founder Johnny Lyu, 84% of the lost funds were successfully recovered using different techniques like on-chain tracking, contract upgrade, and judicial recovery.
Lyu asserted that he will publish all the details once the case is closed,” even though law enforcement officials had advised him to not disclose sensitive information.
Furthermore, he said that KuCoin had resumed the services for 176 tokens on the platform and that the remaining assets would go live again by November 22.
A portion of the funds was sold
Elliptic’s report also adds that the hackers started swapping the funds for Ether, to be able to move and sell without the ability of the ETH being frozen or moved by a third party. The criminals managed to sell $17.1 million worth of cryptocurrency tokens for Ether at five different decentralized exchanges.
Earlier this month, KuCoin had noted that law enforcement had identified the attacker and there was an investigation going on. The company noted that the exchange had found ‘substantial proof’ identifying suspects as the perpetrators of the massive hack and law enforcement officials were actively involved in investigating the case.
The recent attacks on centralized exchanges have fuelled the growth and demand for decentralized exchanges.
The basic properties of decentralized exchanges like enhanced Privacy due to no registration requirements or KYC process, no deposit or withdrawals required, and all the transactions are handled by secure smart contracts, and most importantly, no single point of failure, control or regulation, is something crypto enthusiasts are eyeing right now.