March 27, 2024
anonymous hackers move stolen assets from defunct FTX amid founder's trial.
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Anonymous Hackers Transfer Stolen FTX Assets as Founder’s Trial Begins

Anonymous hackers linked to the now-defunct FTX exchange have initiated significant transfers of stolen assets from the platform, coinciding with the commencement of FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried’s trial.

As per the report by blockchain analytics firm Elliptic on October 12, approximately 72,500 Ether, which had been pilfered from FTX, has come to life for the first time since the exchange suffered a breach in November 2022.

Elliptic reveals that the perpetrator converted $120 million worth of ETH into Bitcoin through the multichain decentralized exchange (DEX) known as THORSwap starting on September 30, 2023.

Interestingly, the initial conversion transactions took place shortly before Bankman-Fried’s trial began on October 3. At the time of the hack, the converted sum was valued at $87 million, constituting 18% of the total stolen funds amounting to $477 million.

The approach adopted by the FTX hacker closely resembles the laundering technique employed during the November 2022 incident, where the hacker funneled 65,000 ETH (equivalent to $100 million) into BTC using the cross-chain bridge known as RenBridge.

Elliptic’s latest report notes that the 180,000 ETH that was not converted to Bitcoin through RenBridge remained inactive until the early hours of September 30, 2023, by which time it had appreciated to $300 million. The report also highlights that the FTX hacker suffered a loss of $94 million in the days following the initial breach as they hurriedly attempted to launder the ill-gotten funds through decentralized exchanges, cross-chain bridges, and mixers.

Surprisingly, even nearly a year after the initial hack, the identity of the FTX thief remains shrouded in mystery, as pointed out by Elliptic. The blockchain analytics firm has put forth three potential entities that could be responsible for the FTX theft: an internal FTX insider, the North Korean Lazarus Group, and criminal groups with ties to Russia.

Elliptic’s report suggests that some FTX employees would have had access to the business’s crypto assets in order to move them for operational reasons. In the chaos surrounding the company’s bankruptcy and collapse, it may have been possible for an internal actor to take these assets.

Image by pixabay

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