Anonymous hackers of the now-defunct exchange FTX have been moving large amounts of assets stolen from the platform, with new transactions occurring just as the ongoing trial of FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried gets underway.
As much as 72,500 Ether (ETH) of stolen assets from FTX has awakened for the first time since the exchange was hacked in November 2022, the blockchain analytics firm Elliptic reported on Oct. 12.
According to Elliptic, the thief has converted $120 million worth of ETH into Bitcoin (BTC) through the multi-chain decentralized exchange (DEX) THORSwap since Sept. 30, 2023.
The first converting transactions were made just a few days before Bankman-Fried’s trial started on Oct. 3. At the time of the hack, the converted amount was worth $87 million, or 18% of the total stolen funds of $477 million.
The FTX hacker applied a similar laundering technique to the one deployed soon they stole the funds when the thief transferred 65,000 ETH ($100,000) to BTC using the cross-chain bridge RenBridge in November last year.
“The 180,000 ETH that was not converted to Bitcoin through RenBridge remained dormant until the early hours of Sep. 30, 2023 — by which time it was worth $300 million,” Elliptic wrote in the new report.
Elliptic mentioned that the FTX hacker lost $94 million in the days following the hack as the attacker rushed to launder the funds through decentralized exchanges, cross-chain bridges and mixers.
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Almost a year after the hack, the identity of the FTX thief is still unknown, Elliptic noted. The blockchain analytics firm suggested three potential possibilities for who could be behind the FTX theft, including an FTX inside job, North Korea’s Lazarus Group and Russia-linked criminal groups.
“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,” the Elliptic’s report reads.
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