A New York couple was arrested on charges of money laundering and theft over the 2016 hack of the crypto exchange Bitfinex, where around $4.5 billion were stolen.
BTC Recovered, Arrests Made
In a statement released by the Department of Justice, it was revealed that the two individuals were arrested for an alleged conspiracy to launder cryptocurrency worth $4.5 billion that was stolen from the crypto exchange Bitfinex back in 2016. The married couple, Ilya “Dutch” Lichtenstein and Heather Morgan will appear in court at 3:00 p.m. ET in New York. Law enforcement has been able to recover around $3.6 billion worth of stolen crypto linked to the hack.
DOJ Hunts Down Money Laundering Couple
Back in 2016, the hackers stole around 120,000 BTC, which was then worth around $60 million and was almost one-sixth of the total trading volume of the cryptocurrency at that time. As per today’s rates, the value of the stolen crypto amounts to close to $4.5 billion. However, the DOJ was not able to recover the entire amount. Instead, they have seized around 94,000 BTC, valued today at $3.6 billion. The DOJ also heavily implies that the couple was the original hackers involved in the theft. However, it has not made any definitive claims for the same.
According to Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco, the arrests and the fund recovery indicates that cryptocurrency might not be the safe haven that cybercriminals have been hoping for. She stated,
“In a futile effort to maintain digital anonymity, the defendants laundered stolen funds through a labyrinth of cryptocurrency transactions. Thanks to the meticulous work of law enforcement, the department once again showed how it can and will follow the money, no matter what form it takes.”
What Does It Mean For The Market?
As news of the recovered bitcoins spread, there was enough speculation that this could trigger a bearish or a bullish market. However, according to venture capitalist Joseph Young, the outcome will be much more nuanced and not as straightforward. He also claimed that due to many factors, including a lengthy legal process for Bitfinex, it would likely not have a noticeable effect on the market.
- If sold, it will be sold gradually. ($160m per month for 18 months)
- When these funds would enter the market is unclear.
- Positive press from recovery of major hack.
- Expect a long legal process for regaining the funds.
…So, when this would happen is totally up in the air. During that time, the market is more likely to price this in. $160m a month for Bitcoin is really not a lot.”
Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.
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