Stolen bitcoins have been spotted moving on the blockchain after three years of lying dormant.
In a series of transactions beginning at 06:00 UTC Friday, 172.54 BTC or about $1.37 million moved from a wallet that had previously held funds taken in the 2016 Bitfinex hack. The theft, which cost the exchange $60 million, remains unsolved.
The Twitter handle Whale_Alert noted the transfers this morning. They continued throughout the day, ending with a $137,514 transaction at 19:47 UTC.
posited that the move was connected with Bitfinex's Leo token, which allows for the anonymous return of stolen funds. Bitfinex spokesperson Anneka Dew denied that the exchange was involved in the move.
“We are not involved, and the movement is not tied to the procedure outlined in the UNUS SED LEO white paper,” she said.
Given the anonymous nature of bitcoin wallets, these moves are the only evidence of hacker activity after the theft. They can be used for forensic analysis by blockchain sleuths but often instead result in money laundering activity to hide the funds' ultimate destination.
Image via Shutterstock.
Read more about
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.