Oh boy. The news of the US Department of Justice finding and arresting the 2016 Bitfinex hackers is the best combination of salacious, hilarious, and surprising. For those of you who are unaware, this morning the DOJ announced that they had identified and apprehended the two people responsible for the hack of Bitfinex in the Fall of 2016, which resulted in ~120,000 bitcoins being stolen from one of the company's hot wallets.
Well, it turns out that the culprits happened to be an obnoxious, but oddly fascinating couple from New York City.
Your Uncle Marty was NOT expecting these two to be the masterminds behind one of the largest exchange hacks in Bitcoin's history. For years I expected the hacker(s) to be part of an inside job or some sophisticated deep web savant with impeccable OpSec. Holy shit, I couldn't be more wrong. According to the Department of Justice, Iyla "Dutch" Lichtenstein and his girlfriend, and terrible rapper, Heather Morgan, were storing the addresses they moved the stolen corn to on a CLOUD SERVER. Talk about living on the edge. You'd think if you had stolen almost 120,000 bitcoins you'd try to be a bit better with ensuring that you aren't leaving a trail in someone else's computer. You sort of have to respect the ineptitude.
With all that being said, it will be really interesting to see how everything plays out from here in regards to the DOJ returning the Bitcoin to Bitfinex and Bitfinex dispersing 80% of the value of the recovered bitcoins (the DOJ was able to confiscate 94,000 btc) to those who own the UNUS SED LEO tokens that Bitfinex issued to those who were affected by the hack in 2016 and used to make those customers whole relatively quickly.
Many believed Bitfinex would never see those bitcoins again. This is a pretty big windfall for Bitfinex considering they already made those affected by the hack whole. It's also a shining example of the fact that Bitcoin is a transparent ledger and if you are going to engage in crimes using Bitcoin, especially exchange hacks, you better be up to speed on privacy best practices, which are in no way trivial at the moment.
Dinner and a comedy show ain't a bad Tuesday night.