A Bank Robbery Result: What Will You Do With The Money That Goes Off of the FTX Outflow? An Investigation by TRM Labs
The 663 million outflow from FTX appeared to be a mixture of coins moving into its own storage wallet and a mystery theft, as was revealed by the Elliptic analysis firm. The amount of money that may have been stolen is said to be nearly $500 million by Elliptic and TRM Labs. Most of the money had been deposited into just a few addresses, where the entire cryptocurrencies tracing industry, a large community of amateur detectives and law enforcement agencies around the globe were all watching it.
“We’re definitely watching the movements of these funds,” says Chris Janczewski, the head of investigations at TRM Labs and a former special agent at the IRS’s criminal investigations division. “This potential thief has hundreds of millions of dollars. But it’s like they went into a bank, took as much cash as they could carry, and then the dye packs went off. They’ve got all this money, but now everyone knows it’s connected to this bank robbery. What are you going to do with it?
Sinbad: Trading for Privacy — The Case Against North Korea’s Crypto-Stealers and the Harmony Bridge Service, Says Mehdi
Mehdi, who declined to reveal his real name or where he is based, says he created Sinbad to combat the growing centralization of scrypt and the erosion of privacy promises. He named his mixer service after the fictional Middle Eastern sailor who, as Mehdi puts it, “traded goods all around the world.” Mehdi describes Sinbad as a legitimate privacy-preserving technology project, comparing it to privacy-focused cryptocurrencies like Monero or Zcash, anonymity-enhancing crypto wallet software like Wasabi, and the Tor browser, which encrypts user traffic and routes it through multiple servers to hide people’s identities.
The theft of around $100 million by the North Koreans in the Harmony Bridge service was one of the largest heists in history, as were the theft of over $600 million by the hackers of the Ronin Bridge service. After the launch of Sinbad, North Korea’sCrypto-Stealers began to funnel their profits by piece through it in the hopes of camouflaging their origin before cashing it out at an exchange, says Chainalysis’ vice president of investigations,Erin Plante. Sinbad “hit the radar for North Korea quickly,” Plante says, “and it’s become their favorite.”
The founder of Sinbad’s argued in an email that the service has no reason to hide. “Sinbad is present in clearnet because it doesn’t do anything bad,” writes the service’s creator and administrator, who asked to be called “Mehdi,” using the term “clearnet” to mean a website not hidden on the Tor network.
“I am against internet control, dictatorships, and total government control.” says Mehdi. “Every living person has the right to privacy.”