The hackers that stole over $16 million worth of cryptocurrencies from the New Zealand-based crypto exchange Cryptopia, have cashed out a part of their stolen coins through a decentralized exchange. According to research $3.2 million has been cashed out already, and two million dollars from that amount went through EtherDelta.
Research firm Elementus also concluded that big chunks of money went through exchanges like Huobi, Binance, Kucoin and Bitbox. These exchanges require identification by users, known as the Know-Your-Customer (KYC) policies. However, on Binance users only require KYC when they want to cash out a big amount. Smaller amounts can be cashed out anonymously.
It’s likely that the criminals are trying to white wash their stolen coins. However, centralized exchanges like Kucoin, Binance and Huobi are likely to have access to private data from their users. Therefore there’s a change that the hackers made a mistake. The two million dollars that went through EtherDelta, which has been fined last year for running an unregistered exchange, is a lot more difficult to trace. Investors that use this exchange control their own wallets, and it will be difficult to link these wallets to a certain individual.
The New Zealand police department is taking the cryptocurrency heist very serious. They say it’s ‘a complex situation’ and can’t pinpoint how much time the investigation will take. At the same time other exchanges, like Binance, freeze wallets that are associated with the hack.
Currently several rumours about the hack still keep making headlines on the internet. According to Elementus the hack was quite unusual, because the hackers gained access to over 76 thousand wallets and their private keys. The lack of urgency from the Cryptopia side is shocking, especially because the hack took place over multiple days. It’s likely that Cryptopia lost access to its own wallets and their private keys, and it’s rumored that the hack was done by an insider.
Also published on Medium.