Hackers who stole around US$530 million worth of cryptocurrency last week from Tokyo-based Coincheck exchange are trying to move the stolen “XEM” coins, Reuters reports, citing an executive with the foundation behind the digital currency.
NEM Foundation, creators of the XEM cryptocurrency, has traced the stolen coins to an unidentified account, according to Jeff McDonald, vice president of the foundation.
The account owner has begun trying to move the coins onto six exchanges where they could then be sold, McDonald told Reuters Tuesday.
The location of the hackers’ account is not known.
“[The hackers are] trying to spend them on multiple exchanges. We are contacting those exchanges,” said McDonald, who is based in Singapore.
Alexandra Tinsman, an NEM Foundation spokeswoman, was quoted as saying that the hacker had started sending out XEM coins to random accounts in 100 XEM batches, worth about US$83 each.
The coins that the hackers had taken made up around 5 percent of the total supply of XEM, the world’s 10th biggest cryptocurrency, according to trade website Coinmarketcap.
McDonald said the hackers are unlikely to try to spend anything close to all of the stolen cryptocurrency at once, because the “market simply couldn’t absorb that much”.
If the hackers successfully move the coins to an exchange, they are likely to try to swap them into another cryptocurrency before transferring the coins back into a conventional currency, he said.
That would make the funds difficult or near impossible to trace.
“I would assume that they are going to get away with some of the money,” McDonald said.
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