Over $623 million worth of bitcoin (BTC) stolen from Bitfinex in 2016 was moved on Wednesday, according to Twitter account Whale Alert, coming on the same day the whole market celebrated a milestone in crypto history: Coinbase’s direct listing on Nasdaq.
- Trade The Chain, a real-time crypto data service, confirmed the number of bitcoin moved, and said it amounts to about 10% of the total 119,756 BTC stolen from Bitfinex in 2016's hack.
- The activity came as cryptocurrency exchange giant Coinbase went live with its direct listing on Nasdaq and analysts told CoinDesk the timing may not be a coincidence.
- "We believe that the BTC transfers started during the trading for Coinbase's direct listing," Nick Mancini, research analyst at Trade the Chain, told CoinDesk in an interview. "The media shields allows them to at least get less publicity, considering there are fewer people tracking their movements or reporting it ... everyone's focused on the Coinbase listing."
- As Decrypt previously reported, over 5,000 BTC was also moved on Nov. 30 from the same stolen fund.
- The November move of the funds came as bitcoin's price headed toward $20,000, a record high price at the time.
- But some suggested the move is unlikely to create any near-term risks to bitcoin's price.
- "The 2016 Bitfinex hack BTC are some of the most tracked and blacklisted funds in the world," Adam Cochran, a partner with Cinneamhain Venture, wrote in a tweet. "No exchange will process them. They can basically never be cashed out."
- However, with the rise of decentralized exchanges, Mancini said that there might be ways for the "bad actors" from the hack to obfuscate the addresses of the stolen bitcoin through popular crypto fundraising methods such as initial DEX offerings (IDOs).
- "Although it is time-consuming, difficult and somewhat trackable, we have seen with the wallets of where the money was transferred, they are already trying to obfuscate everything as best as possible," Mancini said. "I suspect that this is not the final destination for these coins but a first destination for a path of many ways that these bad actors will take to eventually extract value out of the bitcoin. "