Chinese crypto mining giant Bitmain is suing an unidentified hacker who allegedly stole over $5.5 million worth of Bitcoin (BTC) and other digital assets from the company’s Binance account earlier this year.
The lawsuit was filed with the US District Court for the Western District of Washington in Seattle on November 7. According to the court documents, the defendant, referred to as “John Doe” in the case, managed to access “a protected computer without authorization”, gained access to Bitmain’s Binance wallet, and stole approximately 617 Bitcoin. The unauthorized action took place on April 22, when BTC was trading at around $8,935.
The lawsuit further elaborated that the hacker managed to circumvent Binance’s security systems by using two other accounts on the exchange and one on rival platform Bittrex to pull off the heist. “John Doe” used the BTC funds to buy approximately 2.3 million Decentraland (MANA) on Bittrex, which were then used to artificially inflate the prices of the altcoin on Binance.
In addition, some of Bitmain’s BTC was reportedly used to buy Ethereum (ETH), which was then used to buy MANA as well. The hacker further carried out a number of orchestrated trades in the reverse direction between BTC and MANA, eventually reportedly completing the theft by transferring BTC from their Bitmain account “ultimately into a digital wallet on the Bittrex cryptocurrency trading platform.”
“John Doe’s unauthorized access and scheme to defraud was across state lines and accomplished using the Internet, which is used in interstate and foreign commerce and communications,” the court documents read.
Bitmain’s lawsuit may see the hacker’s identity revealed by Binance and Bittrex. Both exchanges enforce know-your-customer (KYC) checks and may be forced to disclose the person behind the accounts involved in the theft scheme.
According to a report released in July by cybersecurity company CipherTrace, in the first half of this year, the total amount of money stolen from crypto exchanges tripled compared to the whole of 2017.