Ciphertrace, a blockchain forensics firm, has been actively tracing the funds that the Twitter hackers obtained when they managed to hack major celebrity accounts. These stolen funds, obtained through a “giveaway” scam, have been moved to crypto gambling sites and peer-to-peer exchanges.
Crypto Laundering Through Peel Chains
On the 21st of July, 2020, Ciphertrace gave out a report that showed 0.2 of the stolen Bitcoin be transferred to a P2P exchange through a “peel chain.” This same peel chain was used to move funds to Ethereum casinos, as well.
Peel chains stand as chains of wallets that funds are passed through incrementally in order to try and hide the movement of crypto, particularly illegally gained crypto. It’s believed that hackers from North Korea favour this tactic, in particular. Ciphertrace further estimates that North Korea-linked Chinese nationals have managed to launder over $100 million in crypto through the use of peel chains.
An Array Of Transactions Made
It was just a day prior, the 20th of July, when Ciphertrace reported that the Twitter hackers managed to establish an array of peel chains. These peel chains were devices to move the stolen funds to a range of P2P marketplaces, crypto exchanges, as well as gambling platforms.
Ciphertrace took further notice of the sums being moved to crypto exchanges in the US, India, and Turkey, being anywhere between 0.1 and 0.15 BTC in total.
Ciphertrace reported 18 identified transactions made in total, going to various crypto platforms. This, for some reasons, includes over 1 BTC that was sent to a regulated crypto exchange in Singapore.
Lies And Deception
The initial reports showed that the hackers were transferring funds to a coin mixing service. However, it seems that they have changed direction, pushing their laundering efforts to crypto trading venues, instead.
Furthermore, Ciphertrace had identified that some BTC was moved to an old cold wallet of Binance, which is believed to be just something to mess with the investigators.
In other news, Ciphertrace has announced today that it will introduce “real-time transaction risk scoring.” This was developed with the intent to flag suspicious Bitcoin transactions before they can be confirmed, sending a notification to the respective software suite.
With this, it’s envisioned that payment processors, crypto exchanges, as well as ATM operators, would be capable of rapidly freezing and then investigating suspicious transactions. This can be done before the transaction is finalized on the blockchain, as well.