While most of the media is focused on Ethereum Classic’s (ETC) own hardfork, the DAO hacker is quietly moving the funds he stole months ago.
Ethereum Classic was formed from a split in the Ethereum (ETH) community. A company called Slock.it built “The DAO” a program on top of Ethereum that was intended to be a sort of crowd-powered investment vehicle. It raised more than $150,000,000 USD and was the hot topic last summer. Then it was hacked.
Because the funds were locked up in The DAO, developers were able to “lock” the funds until The DAO was scheduled to release its funds to the participants. Slock.it cancelled The DAO and a hard fork was created to return the stolen funds. The plan was to make it as if The DAO itself, including the hack, had never happened. This course of action angered a significant minority of the community, who insisted that it was more important that the Ethereum blockchain remain immutable.
That group of miners continued to mine of the original (pre-fork) chain, essentially creating a new coin dubbed Ethereum Classic. By continuing on the non-forked chain, they essentially created two worlds: one where The DAO, along with all the consequences of its hack, still existed, and one where it never happened.
Since that time, both Ethereum and Ethereum Classic have been the subject of spam tx attacks and DDOS attacks. In order to deal with that, Ethereum Classic decided to fork itself. Not to change the blockchain history as Ethereum did in the past, but just to shore up some technical bugs.
Even when a hardfork is being done for technical reasons, it is still a risky venture. If not enough miners switch to the forked chain, it could cause another split, similar to the one we saw between ETH and ETC.
That fork occurred at block 2500000. At press time, the Ethereum Classic blockchain is at block 2502645, meaning the hardfork passed this morning as expected. Unlike the hard fork that caused ETC to exist in the first place, this fork will not invalidate any previous transactions or contracts. Because the gas price for certain contracts is going up, some contracts that previously would have executed will not execute, but none of them will be erased.
There are a lot of articles online about the ETC hardfork. What has been less noticed is that The DAO hacker is now moving his funds on the Ethereum Classic blockchain. It is not clear how, or if, this is related to the hardfork, but it is curious timing.
Back in September, the hacker moved his stolen funds from this account to this one. Curiously, he also donated about 1000 ETC to the Ethereum Classic development fund around that time. Otherwise, the Ether remained static until today, when it started moving all around the Ethereum Classic blockchain.
After the hardfork, the hacker immediately started moving funds. At block 2500181, the hacker moved 1100 ether. At block 2500228, 5000 ether was moved. Then at blocks 2500611 and 2501408, 10,000 ether was moved during each. All of the moved funds were sent to this account. He also made another “donation” to the Ethereum Classic Development fund.
There is still far more Ether in the account than has been sent out, but what has been sent out is not insignificant. The total value of the Ether moved out of the hacker’s account is around $61,610 USD, according to CoinGecko.
The over 60,000 ether that has been moved has since been split between dozens of addresses, making it harder to track from here out. The widespread sentiment among the community seems to be that the Ethereum Classic Developers should give the money to The DAO victims, or burn them. Spending it on themselves or even Ethereum Classic would understandably create an illusion of collusion.
We have reached out to the Ethereum Classic Developers and will update this space when we hear from them.
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