$3.6 billion bitcoin seizure exhibits how onerous it’s to launder cryptocurrency

The IRS detailed the winding and tangled routes the couple allegedly took to launder a portion of the nearly 120,000 bitcoins stolen from the cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex in 2016.

Enlarge / The IRS detailed the winding and tangled routes the couple allegedly took to launder a portion of the practically 120,000 bitcoins stolen from the cryptocurrency alternate Bitfinex in 2016. (credit score: William Whitehurst | Getty Photos)

On Tuesday, Ilya Lichtenstein and Heather Morgan have been arrested in New York and accused of laundering a document $4.5 billion price of stolen cryptocurrency. Within the 24 hours instantly afterward, the cybersecurity world ruthlessly mocked their operational safety screwups: Lichtenstein allegedly saved lots of the personal keys controlling these funds in a cloud-storage pockets that made them straightforward to grab, and Morgan flaunted her “self-made” wealth in a sequence of cringe-inducing rap movies on YouTube and Forbes columns.

However these gaffes have obscured the outstanding variety of multi-layered technical measures that prosecutors say the couple did use to attempt to dead-end the path for anybody following their cash. Much more outstanding, maybe, is that federal brokers, led by IRS Legal Investigations, managed to defeat these alleged makes an attempt at monetary anonymity on the way in which to recouping $3.6 billion of stolen cryptocurrency. In doing so, they demonstrated simply how superior cryptocurrency tracing has change into—doubtlessly even for cash as soon as believed to be virtually untraceable.

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