The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has arrested a husband and wife alleging to have conspired to launder stolen cryptocurrency from Bitfinex 2016 hack.
Since the virtual exchange was hacked in 2016, law enforcement has seized around $3.6 billion in cryptocurrency tied to the hack.
According to Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco, this is the Justice Department’s largest financial seizure, adding that it shows cryptocurrency is not a safe haven for criminals.
Ilya Lichtenstein, 34, and his wife Heather Morgan, 31, both of Manhattan, are scheduled to make their initial appearances in federal court Tuesday at 3:00 p.m. in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
The case was filed in a federal court in Washington, D.C.
The pair is accused of conspiring to launder 119,754 bitcoin that was stolen, after a hacker attacked Bitfinex and initiated more than 2,0000 unauthorized transactions.
Justice Department officials said the transactions at the time were valued at $71 billion in Bitcoin, but with the rise in the currency’s value, it is now valued at over $4.5 billion.
“As the complaint alleges, the FBI and federal prosecutors were able to trace the movement of Bitcoin from this hack,” said Matthew Graves, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia.
He added that the money moved through a major darknet exchange tied to a host of crimes, as well as cryptocurrency addresses tied to child sexual abuse materials.
Tuesday’s criminal complaint came more than four months after Monaco announced the department was launching a new National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team, which is comprised of a mix of anti-money laundering and cybersecurity experts.
Cyber criminals who attack companies, municipalities and individuals with ransomware often demand payment in the form of cryptocurrency.
In one high-profile example last year, former partners and associates of the ransomware group REvil caused a widespread gas shortage on the U.S. East Coast when it used encryption software called DarkSide to launch a cyber attack on the Colonial Pipeline.
The Justice Department was later recovered some $2.3 million in cryptocurrency ransom that Colonial paid to the hackers.
Mixin Network Halts Services After $200 Million Security Breach; Recovery Plan in Progress
Mixin Network, a prominent decentralized wallet service provider, has been rocked by a massive security breach resulting in a loss of $200 million.
The breach, attributed to vulnerabilities in its cloud service provider’s database, has raised questions about the platform’s dependence on centralized infrastructure.
Mixin Network, known for its support of 48 public blockchains and an impressive total network asset value exceeding $1 billion, halted deposit and withdrawal services following the breach.
This incident has prompted discussions within the crypto community regarding the risks associated with centralization in decentralized platforms.
In response to the breach, Mixin Network has taken swift action, enlisting the expertise of blockchain security specialists from SlowMist.
The company has pledged to resume services only after thoroughly addressing identified vulnerabilities, a decision reached through consensus among all network nodes.
The plan for asset recovery will be announced in due course, and Mixin founder Feng Xiaodong will provide a detailed explanation in a public livestream.
The Mixin incident follows closely on the heels of the JPEX cryptocurrency exchange scandal in Hong Kong, which has left countless individuals reeling from financial losses totaling $178 million.
Experts now speculate that these recent setbacks may lead the Hong Kong government to reconsider its enthusiastic promotion of Web3 technologies, as concerns over security and public sentiment cast a shadow on the region’s cryptocurrency ambitions.
Carlton Lai, head of blockchain and cryptocurrency research at Daiwa Capital Markets, said, “I think this scandal will have a pretty sizeable negative impact on retail sentiment, given its significant local presence and the various celebrities involved.”
As Hong Kong grapples with the fallout from these high-profile incidents, the future of cryptocurrency in the region remains uncertain, with questions of regulation and security taking center stage.
Dallas Mavericks Owner and Billionaire Tech Investor, Mark Cuban, Falls Victim to Phishing Attack, Losing $870,000 in Crypto Assets
Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks and a prominent billionaire technology investor, recently fell prey to a phishing attack, resulting in a loss of approximately $870,000 worth of tokens.
The incident occurred over the weekend after months of inactivity on Cuban’s crypto wallet.
Phishing attacks, a prevalent threat in the crypto industry, deceive users into revealing sensitive information, downloading malicious software, and exposing their private data.
These attacks exploit users’ trust, often causing them to overlook the authenticity of incoming requests on their crypto wallets or unwittingly download counterfeit applications designed solely to pilfer their assets.
Cuban’s crypto wallet was emptied of various assets, including U.S.-pegged stablecoins, staked ETH (stETH), SuperRare (RARE) tokens, and some Ethereum Name Service (ENS) domains, according to blockchain data.
The initial discovery of these suspicious transactions was made by the vigilant on-chain investigator @wazzcrypto.
Fortunately, Cuban was alerted to these transactions, and he managed to safeguard over $2.5 million worth of Polygon’s MATIC tokens.
He accomplished this by promptly logging into his wallet and transferring the tokens to a secure Coinbase exchange address.
Cuban revealed that the phishing attack was apparently initiated through a fraudulent MetaMask wallet application that he had unwittingly downloaded.
This incident marks the second high-profile phishing attack in as many weeks, following Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin’s experience in early September. Buterin’s X account was compromised in a phishing attack, although he did not appear to lose any of his own funds.
Nevertheless, unsuspecting users collectively suffered losses of up to $700,000 by sending tokens to a malicious link that falsely appeared to have Buterin’s endorsement.
As the crypto industry continues to thrive, it is crucial for users to exercise caution and remain vigilant to safeguard their digital assets from the ever-present threat of phishing attacks.
RxR Analysis Reveals: Ether’s True Worth 27% Higher than Market Price
RxR, a research-driven partnership between Republic Crypto and Re7 Capital, has revealed that Ether (ETH), the native token of the Ethereum blockchain, is currently trading at a 27% discount to its actual fair value.
This revelation comes as a result of RxR’s innovative approach to evaluating the worth of cryptocurrencies. Instead of relying solely on traditional metrics, RxR’s methodology incorporates a blended version of the Metcalfe law that takes into account both the active user base on the continuously expanding Ethereum scaling networks and the users on the Ethereum mainnet.
Ether, as a fundamental component of the Ethereum ecosystem, facilitates a wide range of activities, from simple transactions to participating in network security through staking, earning interest, and even storing non-fungible tokens. As such, the value of Ether has long been intertwined with Ethereum’s network usage.
Lewis Harland, an analyst at RxR, explained the significance of this approach, stating, “Ethereum’s network valuation exhibits a closer alignment with the updated Metcalfe law index when the active user base of Ethereum’s scaling networks is included in the model, in contrast to when it is omitted.”
Harland continued, “The updated model, which factors in these networks, places ETH’s valuation at $275 billion, indicating that the current market capitalization is trading at a substantial 27% discount.”
Ether’s market capitalization consistently tracks the blended Metcalfe law model more accurately than the traditional model, which fails to consider the growing activity on layer 2 networks or offchain solutions built atop the Ethereum mainnet.
In essence, this analysis challenges the perception that Ether might be overvalued, as suggested by the traditional Metcalfe law Model.
The emergence of Layer 2 technology has undoubtedly become one of the most dynamic and exciting developments in the crypto market. Key protocols, such as Coinbase’s BASE, Arbitrum, and Optimism, have found their unique niches within this landscape.
According to data from L2Beat, the total value locked in layer 2 protocols has surged more than threefold in just two years, reaching an impressive milestone of over $9 billion.
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