Crypto exchange Bitfinex today announced that it had recovered $312,219 in cash and 6.9 in Bitcoin Cash—today worth $1,951—stolen during a 2016 hack. 

In a Thursday release, the exchange said it received the assets from the United States Department of Homeland Security. 

British Virgin Islands-based Bitfinex is working with law enforcement to recover assets from the hack years ago and return them to customers. 


Today’s recovery is just the tip of the iceberg: clients lost a lot of Bitcoin and other assets as hackers made away with around 120,900 BTC in the hack—currently worth $3.6 billion. 

At the time, the stolen coins were priced at $72 million. The Department of Justice said last year that it had seized most of the stolen assets—and arrested two people on charges of conspiracy to launder the stolen cryptocurrency. 

But the assets still need to be returned to customers. 

“We are extremely pleased to be able to reach another successful milestone in the recovery of assets stolen from Bitfinex in 2016,” Bitfinex’s CTO Paolo Ardoino said. 

“We look forward to recovering as much of the stolen Bitcoin as we possibly can and redistributing that to holders of the tokens that were issued in response to the hack in 2016.”



The recovered assets will be given to holders of Bitfinex’s Recovery Right Tokens—digital coins issued to users who lost money in the hack. 

After the hack, the thieves moved the stolen crypto a number of times. A blockchain forensics expert previously told Decrypt that he thought hackers were moving funds between exchanges with fewer know-your-customer (KYC) protocols—a process known as “chain hopping.”

But it didn't work. Eventually, U.S. law enforcement was able to find and get hold of the stolen funds in the largest cryptocurrency seizure to date, unraveling a “sophisticated laundering technique.”

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