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Bitfinex Hack and Bitcoin Laundering Scheme Coming to Netflix

Netflix ordered the yet-to-be-named documentary series from the creators of "Tiger King" and "FYRE" into production.

2 min read
Netflix Logo. Image: Shutterstock

In brief

  • Makers of "Tiger King" and the Fyre Festival documentary "FYRE" are tagged to produce.
  • The series will follow the 2016 Bitfinex hack and the subsequent conspiracy to launder around $4.5 billion in Bitcoin.

The teams behind "Tiger King" and the Fyre Festival documentary "FYRE" are joining forces to produce a new series for Netflix based on the true-life story of Ilya "Dutch" Lichtenstein and Heather Morgan, who were arrested this week and stand accused of conspiring to launder around $4.5 billion in Bitcoin. The government seized $3.6 billion of that total.

Netflix announced today it has green-lit a documentary series about the couple, who allegedly tried to launder the ill-gotten funds from the 2016 Bitfinex hack, one of the largest exchange breaches in Bitcoin history.

This is the company's latest foray into crypto-related crime. Last year, the streaming giant announced the release of a new film set for 2022, “Trust No One: The Hunt for the Crypto King,” about the QuadrigaCX exchange, whose founder Gerald Cotten suddenly died while controlling the keys to users' wallets, leaving millions in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies lost.

On Tuesday, Lichtenstein and Morgan were arrested in New York and face fraud and money laundering charges for allegedly trying to gradually launder 120,000 BTC. Justice Department officials claim they did so via Bitcoin ATMs, altcoin transactions, and purchases of non-fungible tokens (NFTs). The pair appeared in federal court on the day of their arrest and await a fresh bail hearing on Monday.

While Lichtenstein, founder of now-defunct blockchain startup Endpass, did not have an extensive profile on social media, Morgan did. The crypto "entrepreneur" was very active on TikTok and Instagram and until recently hosted a collection of NFTs on OpenSea. She also rapped under the name "Razzlekhan." Morgan, who served as Endpass CEO, also worked as a contributor at Forbes, where she wrote several articles, including one called "Protect Your Business from Cybercriminals."

Chris Smith, who directed the documentary "FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened" and served as executive producer on "Tiger King," will direct and executive produce the new series alongside Nick Bilton. Bilton produced the Elizabeth Holmes documentary "The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley" and wrote the book "American Kingpin," about the hunt for Silk Road creator Ross Ulbricht.

If Morgan and Lichtenstein are convicted, they face up to 25 years in prison.

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