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The service wallet was inactive for seven years, but all of a sudden, transferred massive amounts of BTC to personal wallets.
According to a Chainalysis report, 10,000 BTC was transferred from a crypto wallet that has not been in use since 2014. However, questions are now being asked regarding the move, and a possible link it may have to the infamous Mt. Gox Hack of seven years ago.
For the last seven years, the assets were reportedly left dormant in a crypto wallet belonging to the failed crypto exchange BTC-e. However, on Wednesday, the assets somehow found their way to various personal wallets and exchanges. As of publication, the 10,000 BTC is equivalent to about $167 million.
Meanwhile, the transfer appears to have “shady” written all over it. According to Chainalysis, BTC-e alongside WEX – the exchange thought to have succeeded it – have been carrying out some sort of preparations before the transfer happened. Per the report, the duo sent little amounts of Bitcoin to the Russian online payments service Webmoney sometime last month. They then went on to do an even bigger transfer of 100 BTC, two days before this large withdrawal.
Reliving Mt. Gox Hack, Its Connection to Recently-Moved 10,000 BTC and BTC-e
When Tokyo-based crypto exchange Mt. Gox was hacked in 2014, bad actors made away with thousands of Bitcoin. That ultimately led the exchange to file for bankruptcy. However, three years later, BTC-e, which had its servers based in the United States, would have its website shut down and its funds frozen by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). This was because it was fingered for playing a part in the popular 2014 hack. At the time, some other money laundering allegations were also levelled against it.
When BTC-e was shut down, Chainalysis believes it still had quite a substantial amount of Bitcoin. By April 2018, BTC-e reportedly transferred over 30,000 BTC out of its service wallet. And this 10,000 Bitcoin may just be the last of the entire bunch.
Despite the best efforts of BTC-e owners to remain anonymous, Alexander Vinnik, the alleged operator of BTC-e, has been severally picked up by authorities. And for the better part of the last five years, the Russian national has been embroiled in one legal battle or the other.