Bitfinex, US Homeland Security recover and return more than $300,000 from 2016 hack
Recovery efforts from the infamous 2016 hack are still ongoing with U.S. authorities still assisting in the process.
In the latest developments surrounding the 2016 Bitfinex hack, the digital asset trading platform announced the return of $312,219.71 in cash and 6.917 Bitcoin Cash (BCH) from the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as part of ongoing efforts to recover assets stolen during the security breach. At today’s Bitcoin Cash prices, the recovery value stands at $314,196.
Bitfinex suffered a significant security breach in August 2016, leading to the theft of 119,756 bitcoins, then worth $72 million. In 2022, the U.S. government managed to recover a portion of the stolen Bitcoin—at that time worth $3.6 billion—leading to the arrest of Ilya Lichtenstein and his wife, Heather R. Morgan, for money laundering in connection with the hack
The seizure was conducted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a law enforcement agency under the DHS.
Paolo Ardoino, Bitfinex’s Chief Technology Officer, expressed the company’s satisfaction over this recovery milestone and appreciation for the efforts of law enforcement agencies. “This specific seizure demonstrates the commitment of law enforcement officials to diligently track all the proceeds of the crime committed against Bitfinex almost seven years ago,” he stated.
As per Bitfinex’s contractual obligations to token holders, the recovered assets will be used to redeem Recovery Right Tokens (RRTs). These tokens were issued post the 2016 hack. However, with 30 million RRTs currently in circulation, the recovered amount is insufficient to redeem all RRT tokens. As per their contractual commitments, all RRT holders must be redeemed at $1. The remaining 80 percent of any further recovered assets will be paid to UNUS SED LEO token holders.
RRT holders will have their tokens redeemed pro rata today, based on the size of their RRT holdings, on July 6, 2023, at 12:00.01 AM UTC. Bitfinex continues its active cooperation with law enforcement and judicial systems to recover the stolen assets.
Previous recovery attempts, like the recovery of $120,000 worth of stolen Bitcoin in 2019, and recent arrests of individuals connected to laundering the stolen funds, reflect ongoing attempts to bring the perpetrators to justice and recover stolen assets.