FTX Hacker Converts 50k Stolen ETH to BTC

Per a report from blockchain analysis firm Chainalysis, the attacker behind the Nov 11 FTX exploit, is converting the stolen ETH to Bitcoin. There were muted fears the seemingly inexperienced perpetrator could dump all its ETH holdings. On Sunday, the attacker dumped 50k ETH on-chain, with ETH’s price dipping by almost 7%. 

Hacker Moves 50,000 ETH to New Address

Over the past week, the perpetrator had been steadily swapping the cryptocurrencies they had carted off for Ether tokens. This move saw them become one of the industry’s largest ETH holdings. However, early on Sunday, the hacker began exchanging the unlawfully gained ether for Ren Bitcoin (renBTC).

Ren Bitcoin is an ERC-20 token that represents 1 BTC within the Ethereum ecosystem. Earlier reports revealed that the exploiter was using the Ren protocol to bridge the funds. According to on-chain data, the malicious actor started by moving about 5,000 ETH to a fresh wallet just before 2:30 am ET. This comes to nearly $6M at current rates. 

The attacker completed 3 more transactions after the initial one, moving 10k ETH twice, then 25k for a total of 50,000 tokens. Overall, they were able to move about $58M worth of ETH to the new address. DeFi analyst kamikaz_ETH noted that the thief had moved $15 million worth of ether in about a half hour. 

Attackers Converts ETH to wBTC then renBTC

Blockchain data for the new wallet revealed that the attacker began converting ether to renBTC using DEX aggregator 1inch. They first moved 4,000 tokens before carrying out a slew of transactions exchanging the assets for wrapped bitcoin (wBTC) and then renBTC. Kamikaz_ETH’s tweet however assured that the perpetrator still had $270m ETH in its main wallet.

Before the hacker began its activity, ETH had been trading upwards of $1,218. However, about noon, ETH fell steeply to $1,160 within three hours, closing the day at ~$1,140. Kamikaz_ETH like others shared his worries:

But if 50k ETH sells took us from $1,220 to $1,160, the remaining 200k ETH could do some serious damage to price.”

FTX Attack Was Not Just the Seizure of its Assets

On Nov 11, FTX confirmed the news of a $600M hack both on Twitter and via its Telegram. However, reports recently began to circulate that the hack was only the Bahamas regulator seizing the collapsed platform’s assets. Chainalysis appears to have shed some light on these claims, calling the Bahamas rumors false. 

Reports that the funds stolen from FTX were actually sent to the Securities Commission of The Bahamas are incorrect. Some funds were stolen, and other funds were sent to the regulators.”

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Chainalysis has instructed exchanges to be vigilant and ready to freeze assets if the hacker attempts to make withdrawals. 

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