Crypto Mining Giant Bitmain Sues Anonymous Hacker For Stealing $5.5M In Bitcoin

Crime, News | November 12, 2018 By:

Chinese crypto mining giant Bitmain has filed a lawsuit against an anonymous hacker for allegedly stealing bitcoin from one of its crypto exchange accounts.

According to the lawsuit filed on November 7 in the US District Court for the Western District of Washington, ‘John Doe’ as the hacker is referred, infiltrated Bitmain’s Binance account in April of this year and stole 617 bitcoin, worth over $5.5 million. The suit states that the unknown hacker used the stolen bitcoin to manipulate the price of MANA, the native ERC-20 token of virtual reality platform Decentraland, and then steal the profits.

“As part of this scam, John Doe had previously transferred 2,299,964 MANA from an account he/she controlled on the Bittrex cryptocurrency trading platform,” the lawsuit said. “At the time, John Doe transferred the MANA into his/her Binance wallet, MANA was worth approximately $0.094586 per MANA coin. Through his unauthorized access to Bitmain’s digital wallet and market manipulations, John Doe was able to transfer or “sell” that MANA into Bitmain’s digital wallet at an artificially inflated set of prices that ranged between approximately $0.1997 and $0.33953 per MANA. This represented a 70 to 192 percent increase over the market rate that MANA had been trading.”

Bitmain alleged that the hacker further artificially inflated MANA’s price by using Bitmain’s bitcoin to buy ethereum, which was then used to buy MANA.

“John Doe placed a purchase order from Bitmain’s digital wallet offering to use Bitmain’s BTC to buy the cryptocurrency ethereum (ETH), and then placed another purchase order from Bitmain’s digital wallet offering to use Bitmain’s ETH to buy MANA,” the lawsuit said. “Before the unauthorized trades on April 22, 2018, Bitmain’s digital wallet held approximately 890 BTC. After the unauthorized trades, Bitmain’s digital wallet had approximately 265 BTC. This represents a theft of approximately 617 BTC.”

In their weekly “Crypto Caselaw Minute,” lawyers Stephen Palley and Nelson M. Rosario commented on the lawsuit, saying that stealing cryptocurrencies from a centralized exchange leaves a lot of fingerprints.

“Your name doesn’t need to be known for you to get sued,” the lawyers said. “Now that the lawsuit is on file, one assumes that Bitmain’s next step will be to issue subpoenas to Binance and other service providers, allowing it to identify the defendant.”