On August 2, 2016 the popular cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex was hacked for approximately 119,756 BTC, which is worth a touch over $1 billion using today’s exchange rates. The breach crippled trader confidence that day, and the price per BTC slid 22% immediately after the event.
After the incident, the value of bitcoin staged a modest comeback a week later and Bitfinex promised customers they would be paid back. Those stolen coins were moved to an address that anyone can follow using a standard blockchain explorer. The bitcoins sat for three years and didn’t move until June and August 2019. When a BTC transaction in August took place, the transaction monitoring account Whale Alert notified the public on Twitter that roughly 300 BTC ($2.7M) was moved in ten transactions.
During the first week of June 2019, the hackers also moved around 170 bitcoins worth more than $1.5 million using today’s exchange rates. At the time, BTC prices were much higher and came awfully close to touching $14,000 per coin. It is common for hackers to move digital assets when prices are higher than usual.
Armchair sleuths and observers have noticed this type of trend taking place with the Plustoken scammers as well. When the prices of bitcoin and ethereum are higher, the Plustoken bandits start moving coins to different wallets. No one knows if these stolen coins are being exchanged on a well known trading platform, but it is suspected that it’s more likely coins like these are sold using an over-the-counter (OTC) desk after being mixed.
On May 21, 2020, 30 coins from the August 12, 2019 move, had been transferred once again to another unknown address. Back when Bitfinex was breached in 2016, the going exchange rate for BTC was around $600 per unit. The moved coins on Thursday saw approximately 30.66754180 BTC or $282,000 moved and back then they would only be worth $18,000.
It is also common for hackers to move coins into smaller increments and they may not have been sold on the market. This type of method is noticed because the 30 coins moved on Thursday, stemmed from the 300 BTC ($2.7M) transfer that was done in 10 separate transactions.
Blockchain surveillance firms and law enforcement officials have these addresses flagged and it becomes difficult to move a stash of 119,756 BTC without being seen. Unless of course you split up the stolen bitcoins and possibly mix the UTXOs using the Coinjoin process.
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