KuCoin Maintains Bitcoin Wallet Freeze as Hackers Begin Laundering Stolen Crypto

KuCoin left its customers’ accounts on lockdown Tuesday as the exchange’s weekend hackers continued to slosh around millions of dollars in stolen cryptocurrency.

  • Transaction tracing twitter account Whale Alert flagged 18.4 million XRP tokens ($4.5 million) flowing into a "hack wallet" on Tuesday morning eastern time.

  • Hackers routed 17 million of that haul into a sub-wallet less than an hour later. Shortly after that, four batches of roughly four million tokens apiece flowed into yet more sub-wallets, where they appeared to sit at press time.

  • The XRP is only a drop of the $281 million in cryptocurrencies (especially bitcoin, Tron tokens, Stellar tokens and Ethereum tokens) that tracing firm Elliptic estimated was stolen from KuCoin over the weekend.

  • Ethereum-based tokens in particular dominate the haul. Hackers made off with $150 million total in tether, chainlink and other Ethereum-based tokens, Elliptic said.

  • The hackers have largely failed to sell those tokens on closely guarded centralized exchanges which quickly flag and often block hacked funds.

  • Still, by Monday, Elliptic said that hackers had already flipped millions of stolen tokens for $7.5 million in ethereum (ETH) on decentralized exchanges (DEX) Kyber Network and Uniswap.

  • Elliptic, which is now eyeing that ETH, said in its Monday blog post that the laundering will likely continue on DEXs.

  • KuCoin maintained its post-hack deposit and withdrawal freeze well into Tuesday. It began cancelling previously scheduled programming (including a trading competition) as a result.

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