Bitfinex: "$400 million ransom if you return our BTC"
In an announcement today, Bitfinex has offered a reward of $400 million dollars to anyone that can put them in touch with the hackers who, in 2016, stole 120,000 BTC from the exchange. "This incident is a dark chapter in our exchange's history, and we are pleased to offer this reward as further evidence of our determination to obtain the lost property," the announcement reads.
That BTC now amounts to $1.3 billion, an enormous sum of money. The hackers have moved the funds recently. In July, from the 27th to the 28th, $39 million were moved. On the 29th, $5 million dollars worth of BTC was moved. And on August 3rd, 620 BTC were moved, worth about $7 million dollars. All told, we are looking at over $50 million dollars being moved in recent weeks, signalling the hackers are in need of funds and want to taste that sweet, sweet gold they have on hand.
Some of the bitcoin addresses here:
If you follow the address, the hackers follow a routine of splitting the BTC into smaller amounts, repeating the process over and over again, creating more tunnels of the BTC.
But the fact that, four years later, Bitfinex is still unable to get the BTC back, signals that they are well and gone at this point. Paired with the fact that Bitfinex is now willing to spend $400 million dollars just to get in contact with the hackers. This later point amounts to a full on ransom. Bitfinex may as well say this, instead:
"We know you hackers are having a hard time selling the BTC. We'll give you literally $400 million in ransom payments for the BTC instead."
In some ways, this could have been the goal of the hackers all along. Just hold out as BTC accrues in value, then acquire a massive ransom payment.
Let's do some math here. 120,000 BTC, priced at the ATH of $20k? $2.4 billion.
What if BTC reached $100k, as many are expecting in this next market cycle? $12 billion. Now richer than all but one person in South Korea.
At this point, I'd be surprised if the hackers (assuming it is a group) haven't already turned on one another.
Lesson? Not your keys, not your crypto. Don't trust exchanges.