The hacker who used an exploit to steal $600 million (roughly Rs. 4,870 crore) in funds from the now-bankrupt FTX is now slowly looking to convert the looted Ethereum into Bitcoin as part of their cash-out strategy. The wallet transferred 50,000 ETH, worth over $59 million (roughly Rs. 479 crore), to another address late on Sunday. The receiving address then swapped ETH for renBTC, a form of Bitcoin that runs on the Ethereum blockchain. After that, the address made four separate swaps totalling roughly $59 million (roughly Rs. 479 crore), according to Etherscan.
The Etherscan data reveals that hacker is using the Ren Bridge, which facilitates cross-blockchain transfers, to move the renBTC to the Bitcoin blockchain as BTC, according to the on-chain researcher ZachXBT. The FTX hacker offloading Ether is the latest development in a saga that has gripped the cryptocurrency market as one of its largest and most trusted centralised exchanges collapsed over the span of a few days.
The hacker using Ren appears to have piqued further interest among researchers as Alameda Research, the now-bankrupt sister firm of FTX, bought off Ren in early February 2021. In the wake of the firm’s collapse, Ren has stated that it only has enough funding to continue developing its V2 through the end of 2022.
It is worth noting that the address linked to the hacker still has over 2,00,735 ETH, worth around $236 million (roughly Rs. 1,916 crore), in its wallet.
Blockchain security and analytics firm Chainalysis had previously announced on November 20 that the hacker had bridged the funds and could attempt to use various crypto exchanges to get their loot off the blockchain. “Funds stolen from FTX are on the move and exchanges should be on high alert to freeze them if the hacker attempts to cash out,” tweeted Chainalysis.
Responding to the hacker’s swapping of Ether, FTX too urged exchanges to secure funds they receive that can be traced back to the hacker, so that they can be used in the bankruptcy process.
“Exchanges should be aware that certain funds transferred from FTX Global and related debtors without authorisation on 11/11/22 are being transferred to them through intermediate wallets,” FTX said in a tweet. “Exchanges should take all measures to secure these funds to be returned to the bankruptcy estate.”