FTX hacker moves $120M amid Sam Bankman-Fried trial: Report

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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 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 multichain 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 in November 2022, when the hacker transferred 65,000 ETH ($100 million) to BTC using the cross-chain bridge RenBridge.

“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.

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Daily number of transactions involving FTX stolen assets. Source: Elliptic

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.

Related: FTX hacker could be using SBF trial as a smokescreen: CertiK

Almost a year after the hack, the identity of the FTX thief is still unknown, Elliptic noted. The blockchain analytics firm suggested three possibilities for who could be behind the FTX theft: 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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