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British Police Auction Off Seized EtherDelta Funds

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British police officers have been able to auction off thousands of dollars in cryptocurrency, which were confiscated from a teenager accused of hacking EtherDelta, a non-custodial marketplace for trading Ethereum.

According to an announcement published earlier this week, auction house Wilsons Auction revealed that it partnered with the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU) to sell about $294,000 in Bitcoin, XRP, and Ethereum, adding that this was the first of such auctions performed by the unit. 

In the announcement, Detective Chief Inspector Martin Peters said,

“Asset recovery in a digital world has evolved, so it’s really important that, working alongside commercial partners, we have a clear process for the storage and sale of cryptocurrency.”

The funds themselves were sized from Elliot Gunton, a 19-year-old hacker back in 2018, after he was investigated in connection to the hack of telecommunications giant TalkTalk. In their investigations, authorities discovered that Gunton held stolen personal information from customers of EtherDelta, which he then went online to sell them for $3,000 in crypto.

Gunton to get his court day

The news of the auction is coming after Gunton, and Anthony Tyler Nashatka were indicted by the United States attorney’s office for the Northern District of California for hacking the non-custodial marketplace in 2017. 

According to documents which were filed back in August, Nashatka and Gunton changed the settings of EtherDelta’s domain name system to mislead users and gain access to their cryptocurrency exchange and wallet addresses, as well as their private keys with the aim of withdrawing their funds. 

The suspects reportedly managed to gain access to the settings with the use of an EtherDelta employee’s phone number, then using it to hack their Email addresses. From there, they were able to change the parameters of the domain system in such a way that traffic was automatically redirected from EtherDelta to a fake website which shared a striking resemblance to the original marketplace. 

The visitors to the fake website were able to reveal their private keys, thus opening them to the possibility of losing their crypto assets. While the total amount lost by users wasn’t revealed, the prosecution revealed that one of the affected victims lost as much as $800,000. 

U.K police on an auction spree

The auction also seems to be the first in a line of such actions to be done by the police and Wilsons Auctions, after it was announced last week that two auctions would be carried out. 

An announcement by Wilsons in September revealed that it would be handling the auctions, with up to £500,000 ($662,000) in Bitcoin up for grabs. In this case, the loot was taken from a criminal who stole personal data and performed hacking services for various criminal organizations in exchange for cryptocurrency payments. 

While Bitcoin was pointed to be the significant asset being sold off, the announcement did confirm that they will be selling Ether and XRP as well.

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