FTX thief launders $20M daily

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A thief who stole over $470 million in cryptocurrency from FTX during its collapse is laundering $20 million of the stolen funds into traditional money every day, according to a new analysis by cryptocurrency investigation firm Elliptic.

The thief began moving the stolen funds on September 30, just days before FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried’s trial began. The thief has been sending chunks of the stolen Bitcoin to a mixer service called Sinbad, where it is laundered and presumably cashed out.

Elliptic has been able to trace $54 million of the stolen Bitcoin to Sinbad, but the trail has gone cold for now. Experts say the thief’s activity is strange and goes against the norm for cryptocurrency hackers and thieves.

“Crypto launderers have been known to wait for years to move and cash out assets once public attention has dissipated, but in this case they have begun to move just as the world’s attention is once again directed towards FTX and the events of November 2022,” said Tom Robinson, Elliptic’s co-founder.

Elliptic also found a potential link between the FTX thief and Russian cyber-crime. Some of the stolen Bitcoin successfully laundered last year has been traced to a wallet known to be used by Russian-linked criminal groups. Elliptic says this could point to the involvement of a broker or other intermediary with a link to Russia.

It is unclear how the thief was able to get digital keys to FTX’s crypto wallets, but it is thought it was either an insider or a hacker who was able to steal the information.

The sources for this piece include an article in BBC.

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