Bitcoin Wallet of the Failed BTC-e Exchange Wakes Up
A person transferred 10,000 BTC from a previously “sleeping wallet,” which was identified as holding the treasury of the failed BTC-e exchange.
A bitcoin wallet that’s been linked to the 2014 Mt. Gox hack has burst into life, sending a total of 10,000 bitcoin ($165 million) to two unidentified recipients Wednesday.
On the morning of 08:38 UTC, 3,500 bitcoin flowed out from a wallet to another. After that, they were split up and went into several other wallets. That’s an open question – it’s possible that the owner just sent the money to their own wallets, or cashed out through an informal over-the-counter broker. The remaining 6,500 stayed put.
The first bitcoin exchange, Mt. Gox, was robbed of 744,408 BTC and shut permanently in 2014. In 2017, alleged BTC-e operator Alexander Vinnik was arrested at a resort near Thessaloniki, Greece on charges of money laundering and other allegations by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Wednesday’s hash has been linked to BTC-e, as discovered by Russian crypto entrepreneur Sergey Mendeleev. The transfer was seen in his Telegram channel, which is how he noticed that the wallet was broadcasting a BTC-e identifier. The blockchain data may provide limited information, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be interpreted correctly.
Ruslan Vinnik, a Russian national, faced competing extradition claims from Russia, France and the U.S. In 2020 he was extradited to France from Greece, where he had been found guilty of money laundering. He was then sent to the U.S., where he was sentenced for alleged computer intrusions and hacking incidents, ransomware scams, identity theft schemes, corrupt public officials and narcotics distribution rings. Currently held at the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin, California, Vinnik is next scheduled to appear in court on September 13th of this year.
In 2017, the servers of BTC-e were seized by the FBI and the exchange was shut down. One clone that started under the name WEX then closed after a year of operating. The CEO of BTC-e, Dmitri Vasilev, said that he sold the company to Dmitri Khavchenko.
The Wex.nz exchange shut down abruptly earlier this year, resulting in the depletion of millions of dollars worth of crypto. Users filed reports to the police, and authorities launched investigations in Russia and Kazakhstan. Vasilev was even arrested in Italy, Poland, and Croatia at the request of Russian officials. But every time he was released soon after.
The latest picture on Vasilev’s Instagram account was posted on May 3, 2003 with a location tag of Amsterdam. On the picture, Vasilev is standing in front of Scamm & Sons Pceter Emporium, with his back to the camera.
Multiple people identified the anonymous WEX administrator to be Vasilev, but it turns out that he had been blackmailed by two Russian FSB officers. The BBC acquired the criminal case materials and found out otherwise.
A Russian legal system post confirms that Bilyuchenko is currently imprisoned in a Moscow prison called Matrosskaya Tishina. This report is consistent with a letter that was sent from WEX to him, which was reported as received by the prisoner according to the staff member who accepted the letter.