Bitmain sues ‘John Doe’ hacker who stole $5.5m-worth of its bitcoin for scam

Lawsuits have been issued by Bitmain against an unknown hacker that stole its bitcoin to pump Decentraland’s native crypto… but why? 

Mining giant Bitmain has issued documents attempting to sue that as-yet-unknown hacker that lifted 617 bitcoin – worth around $5.5m at the time – from its account hosted by the Binance exchange.

In an attempt to hide the destination of the funds, the hacker didn’t simply drop the BTC into another wallet. Instead, they used Bitmain’s account to create BTC and Ethereum-paired ‘wash trades’ – where a single entity takes on both sides of a trade in order to create a false sense of demand or supply. After placing inflated orders for the cryptocurrency of virtual reality service Decentraland, known as Mana (MANA), the miscreant then used his own holdings of Mana to fill those orders, bagging the profit. It was a move that more than doubled the value of the low cap crypto.

They weren’t done there, though. After the initial round of trades were complete, the thief allegedly bought back all the Mana at deflated prices, and sold it on other exchanges while the price was still high.

The idea of suing an unknown person may seem strange, but there is method behind what seems to be madness. A so-called John Doe filing like this affords the plaintiff subpoena powers to attempt to find the identity of the person they hope to recover the funds from. That probably means, Binance, Bittrex – the two exchanges specifically mentioned in the legal filing – are likely to be getting letters from Bitmain’s lawyers very soon compelling them to hand over details of whoever is behind the accounts involved in the scam. Whether this will simply lead to another hacking victim, is unclear as yet – but Bitmain may have a way to go before it discovers who, if anyone, eventually pocketed their crypto funds in fiat form.

It is obviously its belief, though, that the perpetrator can be traced from information held by the exchanges mentioned.

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