Coincheck Hackers Have Already Laundered 40 Percent of 500 Million Stolen NEM
The hackers behind the record-setting Coincheck theft have laundered 40 percent of the roughly 500 million NEM tokens (XEM) they stole in the exchange in January, cybersecurity consultants say.
Citing research from Tokyo-based consultancy team L Plus, Nikkei reports that the hackers have laundered an estimated 200 million XEM, worth $79.3 million on the open market at the time of writing.
However, it's likely the hackers made much less than that figure, as evidence indicates the funds were likely laundered through dark web channels because the NEM Foundation and reputable cryptocurrency exchanges have been working together to blacklist the stolen funds.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department has reportedly assigned about 100 police officers to explore the Coincheck hack, and this task force has identified suspicious activity at the market in the weeks leading up to the theft.
Apparently, the hackers infiltrated Coincheck's servers by hacking an employee's email account, after which they could gain access to the private key to the platform's NEM hot wallet, from which they stole 500 million XEM — worth $530 million at the time of the hack but just $198 million now.
An unnamed source familiar with the investigation told Nikkei that the laundered funds, which have largely been traded for Bitcoin, will likely eventually be converted to fiat currency. It's unclear whether some of stolen funds have already been cashed out.
Japanese financial regulators have ramped up their oversight of cryptocurrency exchanges in response to the hack, and the country's licensed trading platforms have announced that they will form a self-regulatory body which, if accepted by the authorities, will have enforcement power over its members.
As CCN reported, Coincheck intends to resume trading this week after a government-mandated overhaul of its security systems.
The exchange will also begin to compensate the estimated 260,000 clients who lost money as the result of the hack. Notably, consumers will be compensated in fiat at a speed of nearly 89 JPY (~$0.83) per token, which is more than double the present XEM/JPY exchange rate.