According to blockchain analysis service Whale Alert, 10,057 bitcoin (worth some $623 million at the time of this writing) that were stolen from cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex in 2016 was transferred in a series of transactions yesterday.
Whale Alert shared the transactions across more than 60 tweets within one hour, all with the note that it was seeing “stolen funds transferred from Bitfinex hack to unknown wallet.”
The 2016 theft from Bitfinex totaled about $65 million worth of bitcoin at the time and raised questions about a contemporary decision to eliminate the cold storage aspect of its custody. The bitcoin associated with the theft have been transferred before, with 270 BTC being transferred in November 2020, for instance. Due to the Bitcoin blockchain’s public nature, bitcoin transactions like these are trackable and auditable.
The timing of these most recent transactions appeared to some to be auspicious, as they came on the first day of Coinbase’s momentous public listing. With most of the Bitcoin-adjacent attention on that, it’s possible that the person transferring the Bitfinex bitcoin thought the moves would fly under the radar or create intentional market conditions.
Adam Cochran, a financial analyst for Cinneamhain Ventures, noted that the transactions might have been intentionally timed to move the bitcoin market.
“The 2016 Bitfinex hack BTC are some of the most tracked and blacklisted funds in the world,” he tweeted. “No exchange will process them. They can basically never be cashed out. This isn’t the first time that the whale has moved them during a market rally to cause panic and likely cash in a short.”